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On our page entitled "Enforcing the Current Standard" it is stated that a review of the OSHA regulations governing fall protection shows that in 29 CFR 1926.502(d) "If a personal fall arrest system is used for fall protection, it must do the following:....Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kiloNewtons) when used with a body harness; Be rigged so that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet nor contact any lower level".

Here's the "Catch-22":

The harnesses that are being used on the market today cannot possibly meet this standard. An over-the-head tie off point is a fictional point; see our main page.  Most harnesses on today’s market allow a free fall distance of six feet and a total fall distance of 18 feet. That is a six foot lanyard plus the 3 ’  tear away EDD plus your body length plus  22% stretch = 18 ’ .  The tear away EDD will expand in the event of a fall, and allow you to fall a total of 18 feet.  

You, as the contractor or worker, can see this from the contractor or worker’s perspective. There is a major gap presented here. What is written on paper and what actually works in the field are two different things. The contractors, the workers and their families are the ones caught in the Catch-22.   Since you can’t tie off over your head, then no one can be properly rigged in their harnesses; they can only tie off wherever they can   This is the deception and that is the reason this is the leading cause of death and critical injury in the workplace.  These men are there to feed their families and they would much rather use what they are given and take the risk of injury in a fall than to lose their job. So he wears the harness and should a fall occur he is not protected from contacting a lower level or slamming into the structure he is tied off to and in many cases these falls result in major injury and sometimes death. At the same time the contractor and/or worker is found to not be in compliance and any hope of successfully defending a personal injury lawsuit or financial restitution on the part of the worker is eliminated.   If you are a contractor or a worker involved in a lawsuit under these circumstances please contact Dennington Safety who can, and will, help you.

Using the above scenario, some people state they can use a retractable but remember, that equipment can only be used when you are working directly under the equipment.   See “The Truth About SRLs”