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Determining a safe anchor point

For some workers and employers in Connecticut, the selection of anchor points can be a concern when aiming to comply with the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Many safety professionals believe that the relevant regulations should have the anchor points capable of supporting 5,000 pounds per person attached. However, the actual standard for anchor points differs slightly from this common belief.

There are a number of reasons as to why OSHA may have selected 5,000 pounds per person as the needed strength for anchor points for fall prevention. Some estimate that 5,000 pounds is twice the amount of force generated by a worker in free fall. These regulations, which have been in place for decades, are calculated on the basis of an average weight of 220 pounds falling over 6 feet. However, when a worker who weighs 220 pounds falls over that distance while using a fall arrest system, the force generated ranges between 900 and 1,800 pounds.

Because the standard requires twice the amount of force in pounds generated by a worker falling, this means that anchor points that support 1,800 to 3,600 pounds may be appropriate. However, this does not mean that any object can be used as an anchor point; it is critical to document that sufficient support is provided by the point. Indeed, even some anchor points that support 5,000 pounds may be insufficient in areas where greater force is generated by a fall.

Workers who must operate at heights and in complex worksites like construction zones are at a constant risk of workplace accidents and injuries. People who are injured on the job have the right to pursue workers’ compensation for their medical bills and expenses. A workers’ compensation attorney could help an employee protect their rights and secure the benefits they deserve.

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