Why have your fall protection equipment inspected and serviced?
Fall protection equipment is category 3 PPE intended to protect users against very serious risks such as death.
The regulations about servicing and maintaining fall protection equipment are very strict, which is why they are subject to an annual inspection.
Why is it mandatory to have your fall protection equipment inspected?
PPE is classified into 3 categories depending on the seriousness of the risks from which they protect you:
Fall protection equipment comes under category 3. It protects against very serious risks including death.
According to the French decree of 19 March 1993, fall protection PPE in operation and storage is subject to a periodic inspection at least once every twelve months, performed by a qualified person.
The dates and results of the inspections and tests performed on all components are to be recorded in the safety register (article R. 233-42-2 of the French Labour Code for PPE).
How is fall protection equipment used?
The answer provided by Principle N°606 of 05 May 1994 stipulates that users remain solely responsible for checking their equipment before and after every use. That means that people working at height MUST examine and check the condition of their fall protection equipment:
- All parts of the fall arrest system need to be checked prior to use as per the supplier and/or installer instructions
- The strength of the anchor attachment fitting must be checked by a competent person
- The absorber elongation during a fall requires sufficient vertical clearance that must be checked prior to the start of work
As well as having reliable equipment, you should always plan to train and provide clear instructions to people working at height.
Does fall protection equipment have an expiry date?
For products mainly made of textiles (harnesses, lanyards, retractable type fall lanyards, etc):
The maximum lifespan is fixed at 10 years from the date of manufacture. This does not take account of environmental factors and the specific conditions in which fall protection equipment is used. Examples include contact with chemical substances, inappropriate storage conditions, exposure to very hot atmospheres above 50°C, UV rays, wear and tear, and so on. It is mandatory to have an annual inspection carried out by a competent person (who is trained to inspect PPE).
For products mainly made of metal (self-retracting lifelines made of cables, carabiners):
We do not stipulate a lifespan for products that are mainly made of metal. They may be used indefinitely, provided they are checked every year by a competent person in the framework of an annual inspection.