Fall protection equipment protects you from falling, but to ensure it works as intended, you need to keep a few safety tips in mind. If you are working in the hot sun, there are a few extra points you should keep in mind, as well. Here are some tips to help protect you and your team while using fall protection equipment in the heat:
1. Do not store fall protection equipment in direct sunlight.
If you have a few harnesses, ropes or lanyards your crew is not using, make sure that equipment is not set on the ground in direct sunlight. Ultraviolet rays can break down the webbing on your harness or cause your ropes to age prematurely. Make sure that these items are in the shade.
If you have to leave the fall protection equipment at the site overnight, make sure that you have a box or other sun-resistant place to store it.
2. Check equipment closely for fraying or other issues before using.
Even if you take care to keep unused equipment in the shade, your fall protection equipment may get sun exposure while your crew is using it. Intense sun can take its toll on your equipment. To ensure your equipment is as safe as possible, always do a visual check before using it. Look your equipment over for fraying, rips or other signs of damage. Some material such as nylon ropes may even appear brownish and brittle if they have been heat damaged.
3. Use cable positioning lanyards.
Cable positioning lanyards clip onto your fall protection equipment and provide extra stability while working at heights. They are particularly useful in very hot environments, and ideally, in intense heat, you should use them instead of rope or web lanyards. Cable positioning lanyards feature metal, which tends to be more heat resistant than rope and nylon webbing.
4. Wear gloves.
Gloves may not be a required part of fall protection equipment, but if you are working in the heat, you should wear work gloves. The metal on lanyards, cables and harness clips can become hot to the touch in the hot sun, and if you want to protect your hands from discomfort, you should wear leather or canvas work gloves.
5. Remember other sun safety tips.
In addition to ensuring you have the right protective equipment in place, you should also think about heat safety tips in general. Excessive heat can lead to heat exhaustion or sunstroke, which can cause you to become dizzy and potentially increase the chance of falling.
To avoid heat exhaustion, stay hydrated and take breaks as needed. Also, review the symptoms of heat exhaustion and educate the rest of your team about the risks. That way, you can monitor yourself and your crew for the symptoms and stop working at heights if you feel the effects taking hold. If possible, try to set up temporary shade above your work area. For example, if you are on scaffolding, erect a temporary awning or canopy over it.
6. Keep your shirt tucked in or wear an undershirt.
If the harness rubs against your skin when the weather is not, your skin may become broken or irritated. To prevent these effects, make sure that you keep your shirt tucked in so that your skin is not exposed. If your shirt tends to come untucked and the harness tends to rub against your skin, wear a long, close fitting undershirt to protect your skin.
Want more tips on using fall protection equipment safely in the hot summer sun? Then, contact a company that sells fall protection equipment, such as Public Works Supply.