Physics in Rope Rescue? Absolutely!

When it comes to rigging, the laws of physics reign supreme. Small systems (e.g., a single knot) and large systems (e.g., a back-tied, elevated anchor supporting a horizontal line across a ravine) will only function effectively if they reflect an understanding of basic principles. Which physical principles are we talking about? Static and dynamic friction, mechanical advantage, vectors, fall forces, static loads, and many others determine … [Read more...]

Pat Rhodes April 12, 2017
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Confined Space Attendant and Fall Protection

Consider for a moment the issue of fall protection and the confined space attendant overseeing entry operations for workers in a vault or manhole (top down entry). A question I often ask our students is: "Does the confined space attendant need to be tied off?" That is, if the fall hazard is greater than four feet (which it almost always is), does OSHA require the attendant to use some sort of fall protection? In this imaginary scenario we need … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson October 18, 2016
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Fall Protection: Meeting the USACE’s Requirements

Anyone who has worked at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project understands how much emphasis the corps places on safety. Fall protection offers a great example. Central to this effort are the specific training and retraining requirements for fall protection users, competent persons, and qualified persons. For example, beginning at the end of May, 2016, anyone serving as a fall protection competent person on a USACE project needs to have … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson March 29, 2016
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Fall Protection on Roofs: How Close Can You Get?

Providing fall protection on flat or low-sloped roofs (defined as roofs with a slope of 0 in 12 to 4 in 12) has always been a hot topic of discussion in our Fall Protection Competent Person classes. And the discussion starts by trying to figure out: How close can a worker get to the edge of a roof before they are exposed to a fall? And what about the use of warning line systems for workers other than roofers? Let's look at each of these issues in … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson March 10, 2016
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Fall Hazards and Permit-Required Confined Spaces

Does the presence of a fall hazard turn a confined space into a permit space? When Oregon re-wrote its confined space rules last year one issue of interest among those attending the stakeholder's meeting hosted by OROSHA, was the question of fall hazards and permit spaces. In other words, if you had a pit twenty feet deep and the only hazard was posed by using a fixed ladder to enter this pit, would the fall hazard be serious enough to make the … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson January 7, 2016
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Fall Arrest Anchors: Strong Enough or Not?

If a fall arrest anchor can't withstand the forces generated, nothing else matters. But when a worker clips in, how can they be assured that the anchor will function if and when it's needed? This is essentially a quality assurance question and assuring quality requires a variety of processes, none of which are complicated but each are required to make the system work. In this blog we have broken the processes down into various steps with the … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson June 24, 2015
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Wind Turbine Safety Standards: Adequate or Not?

Are Wind Turbine Safety Standards Adequate? Last Sunday while skimming the business section of our local newspaper (Eugene's Register Guard), I came across an article on training wind turbine workers so that they can avoid accidents and injuries. A key point in the article was the problem with existing wind turbine safety standards. The  writer, Tiffany Hsu,  asserted that: "Watchdog groups say a hodgepodge of state and federal renewable … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson July 9, 2014
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Scissors Lift Fall Protection Questions

Does working on a scissors lift require fall protection? Recently a vigorous online discussion erupted over this question when it was asked on an online message board. When I last checked over 140 people had expressed a wide variety of fact and opinion. The question itself was simple to answer: "No, OSHA doesn't require an employee to use fall protection when using a scissors lift (i.e., work platform that cannot be positioned completely … [Read more...]

Jim Johnson July 9, 2014
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