Rope grab systems are a common means of personal fall protection in the construction industry and they seem relatively straightforward. When used properly they can be a lifesaver. However, their improper use can render them ineffective and they can become deceivingly hazardous. Follow the tips below to ensure you stay six feet above the ground, not six feet below it.
- Always read the instruction manual to learn how to properly use the device and its limitations before use.
- Make sure the equipment being used is compatible. For example, if the rope grab device is 5/8” then a 5/8” rope should be used.
- The rope grab should be maintained as high as possible to minimize the fall distance and lessen the force that the body would undergo during a fall.
- Use a drop-proof device, such as an accessory cord, to catch the rope grab in the event it falls out of your hand will attaching/detaching it to/from a rope.
- Fall protection devices should be inspected prior to each use to ensure they are in good working condition. Any damaged or worn devices should be removed from service.
- Never hold the rope above the device as the rope grab could slide down with your hand in the event you panic and fall.
- Never grab the device directly to reposition it. The device becomes unattached to the rope when it’s squeezed and it could slide down while you have it engaged in the event you panic and fall.
- Never attach the device upside down on a rope. Most devices have “up” printed on them.
- Never use a device after it has taken a fall. It should be removed from service and inspected by a professional.