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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2001

    HVAC Fall Protection

    Has anyone run into problems with deciding what sort of fall protection (if any) is required for technicians working on or replacing HVAC equipment (on existing buildings), or installing new HVAC equipment on new buildings? I've found lots of information on what is required for roofing contractors, but HVAC work seems to be a gray area.

    We have lots of general contractors telling us that we need to provide fall protection, but have very little information on what is actually required. One guy suggested using a boom-lift to deliver our men and material into the center of the roof so that they never approach the edge! Not very practical, but then neither is spending 2 hours installing anchor points and cables so we can then spend 15 minutes assembling a roof curb.

    How about for HVAC service and repair? Does a technician need a harness and lanyard to put up a 24' ladder and change filters on a rooftop unit?

    Any hints or guidance would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I would contact your local state OSHA office. Im sure they can guide you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Practically Canadian ehh.
    Your talking about falling off the edge of the roof right? I think OSHA has some rule about 6 feet. I see many companies put up temporary rails along the roof edge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Under my tree
    If your going to working in the middle of the roof without safety rails or a para pit, a greater distance than 6' from the edge you need fall restraint. This protects you from walking off the edge and stops you 6' before the edge. This is NOT for fall protection purposes, only fall prevention.

    If you are working within 6' of the edge you need fall protection. This prevents you from hitting the ground or lower levels should you fall off. Proper fall protection includes a proper tie off point, harness, shock absorbing lanyard or retractable lanyard and a rescue plan in place.

    Using the fall protection by yourself without a rescue plan is useless. There have been instances where the fall protection worked, however the person died hanging in the harness.

    If you are going to use fall protection I would reccomend getting the additional foot stirrups in case you should fall to help hold yourself up. They clip on the sides of the harness. The blood pools in your legs while hanging and could create a blood clot that has been fatal due to lack of circulation thru the lower torso. The foot stirrups enable you to stand and help prevent this from happening.

    On a more serious note: make sure that harness is pulled tight and fits properly. A loose harness you can fall out of, or worse yet you could be smashing the boys when the leg parts of the harness pull up into your groin. You won't be a happy camper with all your weight sitting on the boys in the harness with no way to get it off.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Parkersburg WV
    So wrapping red danger tape around your waist 2 times is not sufficent?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Your local OSHA office will be able to give you direction on this without reprocussion, also your library can help.....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Mixing oil and fire with a big spoon.
    we contacted our OSHA office on fall protection requirements for working on centrifugal chillers as some of them are over 6' tall. they came out to look over the job, we told them what we did and how we did it. we asked them to provide a "safe" way to work on the chillers with harness even though we did not have any tie off points. they said that they (OSHA) could not see a way to do it "according to the book" and not cause the site to be even more dangerous.

    call your local OSHA office and ask for a site visit (give the GC a heads up first!). they will give you the rules on how to work safely on your projects IN PLAIN ENGLISH, not that lawyer crap.
    Someday, I hope to be just as brave as Harry Stamper.

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