Setting the Standard In Fall Protection Safety

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Picture of Josh Duey

Josh Duey

Director of Safety Operations

Making the Move to ANSI Class 2

Ideal Contracting recently took a deep dive into our company’s fall protection use, application, and equipment to determine areas for improvement and the necessary steps for those improvements. To help us with this substantial undertaking, we partnered with FallTech, an industry-leading expert dedicated to designing, testing, and manufacturing the most trusted fall protection products while providing expert training and support. The collaboration between the experts at FallTech and our team led Ideal Contracting to the decision to implement American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Class 2 compliant fall protection equipment as the standard requirement for all fall protection equipment.

ANSI Class 2 SRDs (self-retracting devices) are suitable for use above, at, or up to five feet below the dorsal D-ring on a person’s harness. Compared to Class 1 devices, which are only suitable for use at or above the dorsal D-ring anchorage locations, Class 2 SRDs are more comprehensive in different fall arrest situations. Class 2 devices are also leading-edge rated, meaning they are tested for potential falls over a leading edge. This substantially reduces the risk of a fall not being successfully arrested because of an equipment failure.

What Prompted This Decision?

There were no specific underlying events that led to the decision to move to Class 2 fall protection at Ideal Contracting. Instead, the decision was reached by our eagerness to be proactive before an unfortunate situation presented itself that could have been prevented by Class 2 fall protection equipment. In all reality, a significant amount of fall injuries occur as a result of employees not wearing the proper fall protection equipment. This could be for a number of reasons, including whether or not a person knows what equipment is suitable for their situation or if the proper equipment is selected by the person to utilize. There is also a large misconception in the construction industry that you’re safe as long as you are tied off. After careful discussions with the experts at FallTech about the new ANSI Class 2 standards, Ideal Contracting made the choice to elevate our fall protection by quickly removing Class 1 SRDs and replacing them with industry-leading Class 2 compliant devices. 

Implementing the New Fall Protection Equipment

Considering that this has been a complete overhaul of all current SRDs and other fall protection equipment, it was critical to inform everyone early in the process so that no communication hurdles would stall progress. Our team created a training about the new fall protection to assist in the implementation process. The training provided Safety Managers, Project Managers, Superintendents, and other key personnel with an overview of why this change was being made, what they could expect from the new equipment, and what the new Ideal Contracting policies on fall protection equipment would be.

 It is also important to note that implementing the Class 2 fall protection equipment has created very little to no differences in the day-to-day work of our tradespeople. The equipment itself is safer and more effective in fall arrest scenarios, but it hasn’t created any substantial change to how our people operate on a daily basis.

Will This Be the Industry Standard Moving Forward

It’s hard to definitively say that Class 2 fall protection equipment is going to be the primary industry standard going forward. However, what can be said is that this is a forward-thinking investment into the safety of people. We at Ideal know that our team will be exposed to greater safety risks as we continue to grow and work on larger, diverse projects. The elimination of all Class 1 fall protection devices from our inventory and replacing them with only Class 2 protection devices has built an additional layer of security into our approach to safety.

We strongly encourage more companies to take a closer look at their fall protection equipment use and the application of that equipment by their employees in the field. There are some limiting factors that will need to be overcome before this becomes their new normal. One of those factors is simply the lack of knowledge surrounding these different types of fall protection and what makes the Class 2 devices a more well-rounded option for tradesmen and tradeswomen in the construction industry. FallTech was a phenomenal resource for the Ideal Contracting team as we navigated the research and implementation of the Class 2 fall protection.

Now, as the rollout of this versatile fall protection equipment concludes, Ideal Contracting will begin the search for the next enhancement we can make in our pursuit of continuous improvement for our people and our belief that Safety Brings Us Home.

About Ideal Contracting

We're committed to building spaces that bring our client's vision to reality and further their organizational goals. We develop long-term relationships through collaboration and a demonstrated level of workmanship. Together, we build sustainable communities where we work and live.

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