Solution Summary: Using Tool Lanyards, Connection and Anchorage Points
Fall arrest systems for tools is a work practice that can prevent tools falling from heights and striking workers below during construction. In general, the system components consist of a tool connection point, a lanyard or tether, and an anchorage point. There are various tool connection points made for specific load ratings. A lanyard is then connected between a tool connection point and an anchorage point. Anchorage points can range from wristbands to anchors on belts or nearby structural units.
The first step is to place a connection point at the tool handle. Depending on the weight and specification of the tool, there are manufacturer requirements on which type of connection points to attach and use.
Quick Spin Adaptors
For tools weighing under 1 pound, reusable quick spin adaptors can be attached to non-conductive tools (figure 1). They can be tangle-resistant due to the spinning top where the lanyard/tether connection is made.
Figure 1. Putting on a quick spin adaptor on a tool up to 1 pound. (Source: 3M DBI-SALA Fall Protection for Tools Product Catalog)
D-ring sraps, heat shrinks, D-ring cord
For tools weighing up to five pounds, there is the option of placing a D-ring strap and securing it with Quick Wrap tape (figure 2) or a heat shrink (figure 3), or creating a cinch with a D-ring cord (figure 4). Quick Wrap tape is a self-fusing rubber than conforms to the shape of the tool handle and also incorporates inner fiberglass fabric that allows for resistance against shear and sharp objects.
Figure 2. Securing a D-ring attachment with wrapped tape on a tool up to five pounds. (Source: 3M DBI-SALA Fall Protection for Tools Product Catalog)
Figure 3. Securing a D-ring attachment with heat shrink on a tool up to five pounds. (Source: 3M DBI-SALA Fall Protection for Tools Product Catalog)
Figure 4. Using a tool cinch strap and securing with wrapped tape for a tool more than five pounds. (Source: 3M DBI-SALA Fall Protection for Tools Product Catalog)
For tools that are 5 to 80 pounds, tool cinches can be attached (figure 5). There are three types of tool cinches available from Capital Safety to accommodate a variety of tools. For tools with closed handles without triggers or pre-drilled holes, a standard tool cinch can be used. For tools with triggers, a tool cinch single-wing can be used with Quick Wrap tape wrapped around the stabilization wing which helps prevent the cinch from slipping over a trigger. For other tools without closed handles, a tool cinch double-wing can be used with Quick Wrap tape wrapped around both stabilization wings.
Figure 5. Using a tool cinch double wing and wrapping with Quick Wrap tape for a tool without a closed handle. (Source: 3M DBI-SALA Fall Protection for Tools Product Catalog)
It is important to adhere to the manufacturers' guidelines on which lanyards or tethers to use for specific connection points. Because there are a variety of lanyards and tethers that can vary in lengths, material, and load ratings, please visit the manufacturer's website to find the appropriate lanyard for the specific connection point and tool.
Anchorages used for attachment of tool fall arrest equipment must be capable of supporting the load of the tool as specified by the manufacturer.
Wristbands are a type of anchorage point which should be used only for tools weighing up to five pounds. Wristbands may use elastic bands that allow them to slip on to conform onto the workers' wrists or use adjustable hook and loop straps that is constructed out of elastic webbing (figure 6).
Figure 6. From left to right, a hook and loop strap wristband and pullaway wristband. (Source: 3M DBI-SALA Fall Protection for Tools Product Catalog)
A struck by falling object hazard occurs when the source of injury is an object falling from an elevation to a lower level, including instances where the injured person is struck-by, crushed, pinned, or caught under a falling object. Working with tools from height can expose workers to potential falling tools when no passive fall protection, such as a safety net, is in place. This type of struck by injuries can result in severe injuries or death.
How Risks are Reduced:
Risks are reduced and controlled by the tool personal fall arrest system which is designed to prevent tools from dropping below from a height.
It is important to note that landyards and connection points should only be used together when they have been tested for each other and meet load criteria approved by the manufacturer.
All equipment and components of tool fall protection systems must be thoroughly inspected before, during and after each use. Any component of the fall protection for tools system that has deformities, unusual wear or deterioration must be immediately removed from service and replaced.
When working near electrical lines or components, special precautions must be taken to avoid use of conductive tools and wet or conductive lanyards which may create electrical hazards if they come in contact with live electrical circuits. Where use of tool lanyards near live electrical circuits may increase risks, passive protection from falling objects, such as debris nets with an appropriate mesh, should be used.
In some cases, fall protection for tools can also help prevent tool damage.
When working near power tools or entanglement hazards, precautions must also be taken to avoid lanyard entanglement that can cause injury by drawing hands or anchorage points into pinch points or moving components. Where use of tool lanyards near moving components or power tools may increase risks, passive protection from falling objects, such as debris nets with an appropriate mesh, should be used.
Jean Christophe Le, MPH, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training
Capital Safety (3M Company)
To obtain information, visit DBI-SALA® attachment points, lanyards and tethers or contact 1-651-388-8282