Learn more about the fundamentals of fall protection

Learn about the ABCs of Fall Protection

Fall Protection

A - Anchors

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Anchorage connectors, as defined by OSHA, are secure fall protection anchor points of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices and are designed to hold fast under the forces generated during a fall. Anchorage connectors vary by industry, job, type of installation and structure.

An anchorage connector may be a beam anchor, hook, tie-off adaptor, D-ring plate, tripod, davit or other secure device that serves as a point of attachment.

Fall protection anchors and anchorage connectors must be independent and capable of supporting 5,000 lbs. per worker attached, or they may be designed, installed and used under the supervision of a qualified person as part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two times the maximum arresting force. Anchors must be located high enough for a worker to avoid contact with a lower level should a fall occur.

Composite image of workers on worksites using anchorage connectors, horizontal lifeline and access system
What kind of anchor do I need?
  • Anchorage Connectors

    Designed to provide a secure point of attachment, fall protection anchors are components that attach to the structure where work is occurring, either temporarily or permanently.

  • Horizontal Lifelines

    These safety systems are used to protect workers operating in the horizontal plane who may not have continuous access to suitable anchorage points. They can be temporary or permanent, and vary by connection point, connection type and number of users.

  • Access Systems

    Access systems provide purpose-built fall protection anchor points that can surround equipment that requires work at height, such as rail cars, aircraft or vehicles, often consisting of a ladder access system, jib or mobile frame.

Anchorage Connectors

Considerations when choosing an anchorage connector

There are many types of anchorage connectors available, each designed to offer a combination of features that fit a particular job. In general, you will want to consider:

  • Workers on roof secured by fall protection gear

    Structure and attachment type

    Anchorages are designed for what they need to connect to by what they connect to, and the structure will often require a specific type of attachment means. All-purpose wrap-around choker style anchorage connectors are the most versatile and will connect to various structure shapes and sizes. In addition, anchors are offered for steel, concrete, roofs and even specialty styles for poles, leading edges and more.

  • Worker on edge of large tank connected to fall protection anchorage

    Portable or permanent installation

    Anchors can be permanently installed for areas accessed often, or portable for temporary anchor points. Permanently installed anchors are typically constructed from durable, heavy-duty and corrosion resistant materials for extended periods of use and longevity.

  • Workers on top of bridge beams secured by all protection gear

    Fixed or mobile style

    Fixed anchor points are typically the easiest to use and find – they remain in one place and limit your work space. Mobile anchors move with you expanding your work area for maximum freedom of movement. You will also need to consider the connecting subsystem attached (ex. lanyard, self-retracting lifeline)

  • Worker kneeling on beam connected to fall protection anchor

    Durability, usability and strength

    All components must be made from quality materials strong enough to endure rough handling and exposure to the elements, and easy to use so they are used consistently and correctly. Your anchor and connecting components must be rated for your application such as fall arrest, rescue, work positioning or material handling. Choose one that maximizes strength, minimizes weight and offers maximum usability.

Horizontal Lifelines

Considerations when choosing a horizontal lifeline

Horizontal lifelines may be temporary or permanent – learn more about building permanent lifelines into a structure using permanent lifeline systems. In either case, there are several considerations:

  • Worker on worksite wearing harness and fall protection gear

    Anchorage structure type

    The structure your system must attach to, such as an I-beam, rebar stud, concrete column or roof, can dictate the type of specialized system required. A horizontal lifeline may appear to be a basic line strung between two anchors, but it is not. It is critical to choose a system that has been precision engineered and rigorously tested for the application and structure it will be attached to.

  • Worker on worksite wearing harness and fall protection gear

    Lifeline type

    Lifeline type or style can have a significant impact on your systems ease of use or installation, longevity and fall clearance to name just a few. Synthetic lines are extremely lightweight and compact while galvanized or stainless steel options offer added corrosion and abrasion resistance and typically require less fall clearance.

  • Workers atop steel structure connected to lifeline

    Clearance requirements

    The distance between the work area and the next level or obstruction below is often called “fall clearance,” and this is a critical factor when choosing your system. Anchorage height, type of lifeline and length are just a couple of factors that will affect the required clearance needed. It is critical to choose the right system and connecting components to arrest the workers fall prior to hitting the ground or obstruction.

  • Workers on aircraft wing performing maintenance secured by fall protection gear

    Number of users

    These systems are used to protect workers operating in the horizontal plane who may not have continuous access to suitable anchorage points. Always consider the number of workers required to get the job done and choose a system that can accommodate those personnel safely. Systems are available for one, two, and even up to six workers depending upon your jobsite needs

Access Systems/Portable Frames & Jibs

Tailoring access systems to your need

Depending on your application, you may be in the market for standard, common access systems, modular systems that can be adjusted to fit your application, or a completely new custom design. Whichever is right for you, 3M has the expertise and products to bring your vision to reality. When it comes to versatile, reliable fall protection for unique work environments, we will help you every step of the way:

  • Fall protection access system  around large earthmoving equipment undergoing maintenance

    Standard design

    Our pre-engineered standard systems accommodate most applications and environments. We will work closely with you to determine if the off-the-shelf system is appropriate or if customization is necessary.

  • Military jet under maintenance access system

    Custom design

    A custom access solution is created based on your application requirements and design constraints. We will work together to determine goals and expectations; account for safety, code compliance, ergonomics and productivity; develop concepts and create 3D renderings of the solution; and work together to fine-tune the design.

  • Engineer at computer looking at schematics of fall protection system

    Engineering

    In the engineering phase, we produce models and drawings to your exact specifications. Together, 3M and your team will validate the design solution, perform a structural analysis, select materials, and approve third-party components. Based on approval of detailed CAD drawings, we then produce a full production drawing package for fabrication.

  • Welder assembling metal structure

    Fabrication

    Finally, expert welders and fabricators bring your project to life. From materials purchasing and scheduling, to fabrication, quality checks, delivery, and installation, we will work together through the entire project installation requirements.

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How to choose other Fall Protection equipment

  • Body Support/Harnesses

    Discover our extensive range of fall arrest harnesses designed with the latest technology. They provide freedom of movement and flexibility to work in a more comfortable and efficient manner.

     

     

  • Connectors

    Connector types vary depending on whether the worker needs connection for a personal fall arrest or positioning and travel restriction.

  • Descent & Rescue

    Our goal is not only helping keep workers safe at height, but getting them safely back to the ground with advanced, reliable rescue systems. We offer the most complete line of safe, easy-to-use and effective rescue systems in the industry.

  • Netting & Guardrail Systems

    Passive fall safety and debris containment systems provide your crew (and the public below) the protection they need, without requiring their active involvement, specialized training, major maintenance, or additional gear.

  • Fall Protection for Tools

    Objects dropped from height can result in personal injury to workers, others at the worksite and equipment. When planning for workplace safety, remember, fall protection is about you; dropped object prevention is about those around you.

  • Permanent Lifeline Systems

    Our broad selection of both permanent and temporary, horizontal and vertical lifelines offer significant advantages in safety and productivity and have been precision engineered for a wide range of applications.

  • Confined Space

    No two confined spaces are exactly alike. Type, size and hazards vary greatly, along with different standards, regulations and company policies that can apply to each working environment.

  • Working at Height

    Whether conducting a hazard assessment or developing a comprehensive fall protection plan, there are key challenges of working at heights to consider: leading and sharp edges, fall clearance, and dropped objects.