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ANSI Z359.14-2021 The hits keep on coming!

Sorry about the reference to AM radio but forewarned is forearmed.

On January 26, 2012, the American National Standards Institute, in conjunction with the American Society of Safety Engineers approved ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012 which made sweeping changes to the standards for self-retracting lifelines.

Names were changed from SRLs to SRDs, test weights were changed from 220 to 282 pounds and a new category, Leading Edge Self Retracting Devices were introduced. Also added were Class A and Class B self-retracting devices. A lot of changes, but for the most part it was an excellent standard, although I disagreed with the test weight change from 220 to 282 pounds. My own test, although somewhat limited, indicated a test weight of 260 was more accurate. Plus, I used a human model for a test (myself), not theoretical assumptions. The standard also continues to ignore a large part of the users of fall protection equipment: workers under 130 pounds and workers over 310. The standard also makes what I consider to be incorrect assumptions about workers who weigh less than 130 pounds.

On June 17, 2021, ANSI/ASSP approved the new version of Z359.14-2021. Effective date is August 1,2022, but that date has been extended until February 1, 2023, and hopefully could be extended again.

This standard introduces a new concept to the fall protection standard… Confusion.

Gone are the terms for Class A and Class B self-retracting lifelines. Gone are the terms for Leading Edge Self retracting lifelines. Gone is the 282-pound test weight. Now comes the 310-pound test weight.

Welcome to Class 1 and Class 2 and Self Retracting Lanyards, Personal. Not to mention new test methods and test distances. I believe clearance requirements will once again be changed. I am not sure these changes will really improve the protection given by these products to a significant degree.

But of course, what it does do is make existing products non-compliant with the new ANSI standard. This standard is still a voluntary standard and not required by OSHA, but you understand the implications if your products are not in compliance with ANSI. One obvious recommendation. Do not make any changes in your fall protection products until the smoke clears. This standard may be reviewed by some of the manufacturers and perhaps affect some modifications before it is enacted.

It has been done before.


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