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HVAC: fall protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires HVAC professionals to have a fall protection
system when working at the height of six feet or more above a lower level, regardless of the pitch. Workers can
face fall hazards in various ways from working around the unguarded edge of a building, standing on top of large
industrial units to fall hazards related to working from lifts.

Areas to consider:
– Ensure the appropriate ladder is being used for the task; if the ladder is fixed or interior roof access, ensure
the condition is good and use a body harness with attached D- ring to ascend and descend where needed
– Do not travel to heights with tools in hand; pull tools up afterward
– Parapet walls should be 39” or higher to be adequately used as fall protection
– Temporary railing can be used when there is no existing wall or parapet
– When work is performed on a flat roof, there must be at a minimum, a warning line 15 feet from the edge
– A rope grab with a clamp anchor can be secured and used when working on a suspended unit and standing on
a ladder
– When scaffolds are used, they should be erected, inspected and dismantled by a competent person
– Any time work is done from an aerial lift, workers should be tied off with a fall arrest system


Detailed below are some of the conventional methods of fall protection available to protect workers:

Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)
– PFAS consists of a worker wearing a full body harness attached to a fixed anchor point via a lanyard or cable

PFAS + Rope Grabs
– A rope grab system consists of a worker wearing a full-body harness attached to a fixed anchor point via a rope
– The harness is connected to the rope by a rope grab that allows the user to move up and down the line fluidly
– If the rope is jerked or if a fall occurs, it locks into place and keeps the worker from falling further

PFAS + Horizontal Lifeline
– When used as part of a PFAS, a horizontal lifeline can be used to increase the area in which a worker is
– A horizontal lifeline consists of a cable connected horizontally between two or
more anchors extended along the roof peak
– Never tie off to other structure or poles outside of the lift


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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