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ANSI Z359: A New Lift to Fall Protection Standards

Quick Tips #347

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z359.1- “American National Standard Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components” was originally published in 1992 and later revised in 1999 (with editorial changes only). The purpose of the standard was to address the variety of fall protection equipment being developed and applied to fall arrest equipment used in General Industry and non-construction occupations only. The construction industry has its own set of standards - ANSI A10.32- 2012 “Personal Fall Protection for Use in Construction and Demolition Operations”.

The original ANSI Z359.1-1992 (R1999) has been expanded. The “new” ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code was approved in 2007. This Code is an umbrella for a series of 17 fall protection-related standards. Many of the changes incorporated into the Fall Protection Code Standards were driven by improper use of equipment by workers at heights. These standards are designed to educate workers concerning proper use of equipment and overall safe work strategies and systems to minimize the distances and consequences of falls from heights should they occur.

The current Z359 Fall Protection Code package includes:

  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2012 – “Definitions and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest”
    • Provides terminology and definitions used through the code
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 – “Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components”
    • Sets safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components for connectors, full body harnesses, lanyards, energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, vertical lifelines and self-retracting lanyards
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007 – “Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program”
    • Establishes guidelines and requirements for developing and implementing a comprehensive managed fall protection program
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.3-2007 – “Safety Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems”
    • Provides the minimum guidelines for the system design, manufacture and test of personal work positioning and travel restraint systems
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2013 – “Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components”
    • Establishes requirements for performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, use, maintenance and removal from service of equipment used in preplanned assisted-rescue and self-rescue for one or two workers
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.6-2009 – “Specifications and Design Requirements for Active Fall Protection Systems”
    • Specifies requirements for the design and performance of complete active fall-protection systems, including travel-restraint and vertical and horizontal fall-arrest systems and is intended for engineers with expertise in designing fall-protection systems
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.7-2011 – “Qualification and Verification Testing of Fall Protection Products”
    • Sets requirements for certification of ANSI Z359 Code products and components as well as requirements for third-party testing, witness testing and manufacturer self-certification of fall protection products and components
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.11-2014 – “Safety Requirements for Full Body Harnesses”
    • Establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, test methods, inspection, use, maintenance and removal from service of full body harnesses used for fall arrest, positioning, restraint, suspension and/or rescue applications
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009 – “Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest System”
    • Sets requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, test methods and removal from service of connectors
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.13-2013 – “Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards”
    • Establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instructions, inspection, maintenance and removal from service of energy absorbing lanyards and personal energy absorbers
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2014 – “Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices For Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems”
    • Sets requirements for performance, design, qualification testing, marking and instructions, inspection, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of self-retracting devices including self-retracting lanyards (SRL’s), self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capability (SRL-R’s), and self-retracting lanyards with leading edge capability (SRL-LE’s), comprising personal fall arrest or rescue systems
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.15-2014 – “Safety Requirements for Single Anchor Lifelines and Fall Arresters for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems”
    • Sets requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, inspection, use, maintenance and removal from service of vertical lifelines

These five remaining proposed Standards of the ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code are in development:

  • ANSI Z359.5 – “Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems”
    • Will set guidelines for a competent person
  • ANSI Z359.8 – “Managed Fall Protection Program”
    • Will provide information and guidance on fall protection practices and procedures for rope access work
  • ANSI Z359.16 – “Safety Requirements for Fall Arresters for Personal Fall Arrest Systems”
    • Will establish requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, inspection, use, maintenance and removal from service of fall arrestor components
  • ANSI Z359.17 – “Safety Requirements for Horizontal Lifelines for Personal Fall Arrest Systems”
    • Will set requirements related to the design, performance, testing, labeling and provisions for pre-engineered flexible horizontal lifeline systems
  • ANSI Z359.18 – “Safety Requirements for Anchorage Connectors for Personal Fall Arrest Systems”
    • Will establish requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, selection, instructions, inspection, maintenance and removal from service of anchorage connectors for personal fall protection systems
Summary

ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code provides the requirements to help minimize serious injuries often caused by misuse, poor product selection, inadequate training or possibly damaged/worn fall protection equipment. This document provides a basic understanding of the code and the key changes that have either been incorporated or are in development. It is intended to provide an overview of the standards only. It is not an exhaustive, all inclusive, account of every change in all of the included or planned standards.

Commonly Asked Questions
Q: Does ANSI Z359 apply to the construction industry? A: ANSI Z359 is a voluntary consensus standard that applies to General Industry and non-construction occupations only. The construction industry has its own set of standards - ANSI A10.32- 2012 “Personal Fall Protection for Use in Construction and Demolition Operations”.

Q: What are “active” fall protection systems? A: ANSI defines an “active” fall protection system as “a means of providing fall protection that requires workers to take specific actions, including wearing and otherwise using personal fall protection equipment and following prescribed procedures. Examples include travel restraint and fall arrest systems.”

Q: Is it okay to attach a lanyard snap hook to the side d-rings of a harness when not in use? A: Connecting a lanyard to other areas of a harness in some cases could produce dangerous conditions. When connected to side d-rings the lanyard could drag on the ground, snag the webbing or cause a trip hazard. Generally, all harnesses have pull-free lanyard rings on the chest strap as a convenient location to connect a lanyard that is not in use.

Sources

A New Era for an Old Standard; A review of Proposed Changes to ANSI Z359.1-1992(R1999). Capitol Safety, 2007 Publication
ANSI – Understanding the New Z359-2007 standard; Miller Fall Protection, Published 2007
ANSI – American National Standards Institute Z359.1-2007
ANSI – American National Standards Institute Z359 Fall Protection Code.

(Rev. 8/2015)


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Please Note:
The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.


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