Inspections of protective equipment against falling from height are intended to inspect the physical condition of the equipment and to provide the user with clear information on the possibility to use the respective equipment in maximum safety conditions. The purpose of using the personal protective equipment against falling from height is to protect the user against falling from height and/or to provide an incremental arrest of a person’s fall until the complete stop, therefore all equipment and lanyards that contribute to these purposes must be checked periodically to ensure their appropriate operation in case of occurrence of an unwanted incident.
In case of protective equipment against falling from height, three types of inspections are recommended:
a) Inspection prior each use:
Prior to each use of the personal protective equipment against falling from height (even when the equipment is new and it had never been used), each component of the system to be used must be subject to a thorough visual inspection. If any mechanical or chemical failure or defect is found, the equipment must not be used. Also, if it is found that some of the components are missing (e.g., one buckle or one strap of the safety harness), that equipment must be decommissioned. If there are any doubts related to the appropriate condition or operation of the equipment, it must not be used. Visual inspection prior to each use must be performed by the equipment user.
b) Periodical annual inspections:
Periodically, but not later than 12 months, the equipment in operation must be inspected. If the equipment is used very often or in adverse conditions, such as those that involve high loads or a wet and greasy environment, the equipment must be inspected more often, even every at 2 or 3 months of use. Periodical annual inspections must be performed by the equipment manufacturer or by its authorised representative. This person must have the knowledge and the expertise required for a correct use of the equipment against falling from height.
c) Manufacturer’s inspections:
After 5 years of use, the personal protective equipment against falling from height should be sent back to the manufacturer to be subject to detailed inspection, and such inspection shall also establish the maximum time of the next inspection. The manufacturer’s inspection must be performed by the manufacturer or by one of its authorised representatives.
The personal protective equipment against falling from height can be used for a period of maximum 5 years following the commissioning date. When this period expires, the equipment must be decommissioned to be inspected by the manufacturer or scrapped automatically (according to the equipment manufacturer instructions).
Thus, after 5 years of use, some components of the equipment for work at height, such as lanyards, energy absorbers and other elements that include textile lanyards shall be decommissioned and destroyed physically so that the remaining scraps cannot be used accidentally.
The performance of annual periodic inspections for the personal protective equipment against falling from height shall materialise in an inspection report, and if the inspection results are inadequate, a recommendation is made to decommission and substitute inadequate equipment or – if possible – a proposal to remedy malfunctions and an estimate for repairs.