We have received information on a fatality which occurred when a person fell from a high voltage transmission tower whilst wearing the appropriate PPE (fall arrest system).
The full incident investigation is incomplete, but information available from the preliminary investigation indicates that the cause of the incident was the failure of the fall arrestor lanyard. Early indications are that the stitching on the harness side of the lanyard failed when it took the load of the person’s weight.
The lanyard was a SALA Zorba twin elastic lanyard (tieback 2 metre H186 alloy hook), product number Z622035E. The lanyard appeared to be in good condition and was approximately two years old. While the investigation is pending, the company involved has withdrawn this make of equipment from use.
The company’s own procedures, as is also required under some regulatory regimes, required personal fall protection equipment (PFP) to be visually inspected prior to each day’s use. In addition, lanyards and fall arrest systems were required to undergo an annual inspection by a competent person and had to display a legible information tag. Any such equipment showing signs of deterioration or damage, regardless of its degree, was to be taken out of service and destroyed. Out-of-date equipment was to be taken out of service until re-inspected by an appropriately qualified person.
The company issued the following instructions in light of the incident:
- construction inspectors and supervisors to review this flash/the incident at their next safety meeting;
- all PFP equipment to be inspected as set out in the company’s procedures, with such inspections documented and records made available for audit;
- the specific make and model of lanyard to be withdrawn from service pending further investigation and analysis.
It has been noted that the lanyard did not carry a US-domestic product number and was not commonly used by US contractors.
Further outcomes from the investigation are to be communicated in due course.
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