Rock climbers inspect their safety gear before each ascent, even if it’s the sixth one that day. Doing the inspection each time eliminates the risk of using damaged gear.
Before you make a given climb at work, always inspect your safety harness and lanyard for damage to stitches or the fiber, and check grommets and other hardware for integrity with the harness or lanyard. If the lanyard is retractable, test it to ensure it locks properly. If you had a fall, replace the lanyard.
Once you’re at elevation, don’t assume every anchorage point is safe to hook onto. Verify it is before using it. Here’s how:
- Look for evidence of abuse. For example, the anchorage point was used beyond its rated capacity and is now bent.
- Look for cracks or sharp edges, preferably with a flashlight to eliminate shadows.
- If it’s a bolted anchorage point, look at the threaded portion for evidence of loosening. For example, the bolt goes through a beam and is secured by a threaded nut; is there a space showing it’s coming undone?
More about anchorage points:
- Many types of “clippable” items are not of sufficient strength to support your weight plus the force of your fall. These include conduit, electrical tubing, plumbing, guard rails, and piping clamps.
- In nearly all traversing situations, attach to a new anchorage point before detaching from the one that is protecting you.