ANSI/ASSP Changes to SRDs are Effective for Manufacturers February 1, 2023
During a recent meeting of fall protection device experts that was sponsored by the Washington Metropolitan Area Construction Safety Association (WMASCA) that I attended, it dawned on me that employers and mine operators might not fully understand the changes to the new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems because some of the safety professionals there were confused. So, with some information gathered at that meeting, the following is some background information and some notable changes between the former Z359.14-2014 standard and the new 2021 standard.
Test Mass increased from 282 pounds to 310 pounds
SRD Classifications revised away from Class A and B:
Class 1 SRD is for use with anchorages AT or ABOVE the dorsal D-ring with maximum allowable freefall of 2 feet
Class 2 SRD is for use with anchorages ABOVE or BELOW the dorsal D-ring with a maximum allowable freefall of 6 feet
Icons have been designated for labels that now include Class 1 (white background, black letters) and Class 2 (black background, white letters)
Updated SRL Categories are: SRL; SRL-P (new for personal); SRL-R (carryover); SRL-LE has been removed and now designated under Class 2
Webbing and synthetic rope used in Class 2 devices must now be 5,000 pounds which was formerly 4,500 pounds
The average arresting force (AAF) has been increased from 900 pounds to 1,350 pounds and the arrest distance (AD) shortened from 54 inches to 42 inches.
Products manufactured under prior Z359.14 standards (2014 most likely) are grandfathered for use so long as the devices meet the manufacturer's inspection requirements conducted by a competent person. All the manufacturers who spoke at the meeting stated that they had authorized repair places to provide technical assistance ensure testing and relabeling and repair of former units.
What are the practical effects or things to keep in mind for the OSHA regulated employers and MSHA regulated operators?
All manufacturers who spoke at the meeting stated they would be ready by the 2/1/2023 date to manufacture the SRDs under the new Z359.14 (2021) standard, and some already are selling
Class 2 SRDs accommodate all situations of anchorage points and leading-edge issues
If a worker in a lift basket may have to exit the basket, using a Class 2 harness ensures complete compliance while exiting the basket and at the workplace the worker is trying to reach
Class 2 SRD has an integrated shock absorber, while a Class 1 is optional
Manufacturers will provide clearance and swing charts
For fall clearance calculations, the arrest distance will likely change to 42 inches
Manufacturers are providing a trade-in, trade-up programs
My sense was that employers who will purchase units in the future will purchase the Class 2 SRDs notwithstanding the additional costs
Good information to share internally and to use to establish purchasing guidelines going forward before your next SRD purchase!