CPEng involvement with fall arrest/abseil anchors and safety systems

After the release of the Best Practice Guidelines for Industrial Rope Access in May 2012 Charted Professional Engineers (CPEng) have had a lot more involvement with the installation and re-certification of safety systems, fall arrest and abseil anchor points.

Prior to May 2012 the requirements outlined in AS/NZS 1891 were that installation and certification may be carried out by a "competent person". This is a big step for the industry but in our opinion a great one. Yes it does increase the cost and turn around of an installation but it also ensures that all practicable steps are being taken to ensure the safety of the user.

In New Zealand we have been lucky enough to have no instances of fatality due to anchor or system failure, but this does not mean that this will never happen. You may have some anchors on your roof or in your factory, that were installed prior to May 2012 by a "competent person" which are also currently certified by a "competent person" but may not meet current strength requirements. Having an CPEng confirm the strength is highly recommended and would be considered a practicable step. Once an engineer has provided a Producer Statement 4 (PS4) for the anchors/systems, the system will have a ten year life span. During this time the competent person must still carry out annual inspections and certifications. After the ten years the CPEng will re-visit the anchor/system and advise if the anchor/system is fit for another 10 years. They may also recommend that the anchor/system be replaced.

Just remember anchors are a key part of the minimisation of height hazards.
In many cases any failure would be fatal! 



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