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Requirements For Rope Descent System Use, Capacity, Care, And Maintenance

Scaffold and Rope Descent Systems

Scaffolds

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Scaffolds used in general industry must meet the requirements in 29 CFR part 1926, subpart L, Scaffolds.

Rope Descent Systems

The employer must ensure:

  • Before any rope descent system is used, the building owner must inform the employer, in writing that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it can support at least 5,000 pounds (2268 kg), in any direction, for each employee attached.
  • All components of each rope descent system, except seat boards, are capable of sustaining a minimum rated load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN). Seat boards must be capable of supporting a live load of 300 pounds (136 kg);
  • The employer must ensure that no employee uses any anchorage before the employer has obtained written information from the building owner that each anchorage meets OSHA requirements.
  • No rope descent system is used for heights greater than 300 feet (91 m) above grade unless the employer demonstrates that it is not feasible to access such heights by any other means or that those means pose a greater hazard than using a rope descent system;
  • The rope descent system is used in accordance with instructions, warnings, and design limitations set by the manufacturer or under the direction of a qualified person;
  • Each employee who uses the rope descent system is trained in accordance with OSHA 1910.30;
  • The rope descent system is inspected at the start of each workshift that it is to be used. The employer must ensure damaged or defective equipment is removed from service immediately and replaced.

The employer must ensure:

  • The rope descent system has proper rigging, including anchorages and tiebacks, with particular emphasis on providing tiebacks when counterweights, cornice hooks, or similar non-permanent anchorages are used;
  • Each employee uses a separate, independent personal fall arrest system (PFAS) that meets the requirements of 1910 Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment;
  • Prompt rescue of each employee is provided in the event of a fall; ]
  • The ropes of each rope descent system are effectively padded or otherwise protected, where they can contact edges of the building, anchorage, obstructions, or other surfaces, to prevent them from being cut or weakened;
  • Stabilization is provided at the specific work location when descents are greater than 130 feet (39.6 m);
  • No employee uses a rope descent system when hazardous weather conditions, such as storms or gusty or excessive wind, are present;
  • Equipment, such as tools, squeegees, or buckets, is secured by a tool lanyard or similar method to prevent it from falling; and
  • The ropes of each rope descent system are protected from exposure to open flames, hot work, corrosive chemicals, and other destructive conditions.
NEBOSH IGC

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