Fall Safety ABCs - Anchors & Anchorage Connections
A Proper Anchor Connection Point, Leads to a Safe & Reliable Fall Protection System
Defined by OSHA, Anchorage Connectors are a secure fall protection anchor point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices. Anchorage connectors must be rated to hold fast under the forces generated during a fall. Anchorage connectors vary by industry, job & type of installation and structure.
Anchors & anchorage connectors must be independent and capable of supporting 5,000 lbs. per worker attached. When possible, anchors & anchorage connectors should be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person as part of a complete fall protection system.
Anchorage Connectors may be a beam anchor, hook, tie-off adaptor, d-ring plate, tripod, davit or other secure device that serves as a point of attachment.
Anchors must be located high enough to avoid contact with a lower level, should a fall occur.
Learn More About Anchors & Choosing the Correct Anchorage Connection for Your Job
Anchorage connectors vary by industry, job, type of installation and structure. Learn more in a high-level safety overview video on anchorage connectors by our QSSP Safety Specialist Pat Monahan. In the video you will learn about the different types of anchors and when you should use each type.
Contact Us for More Information & to Set Up a Safety Training Session at Your Jobsite
What Kind of Anchor Do I Need?
Anchorage Connectors are designed to provide a secure point of attachment, fall protection anchors are components that attach to the structure where work is occurring, either temporarily or permanently.
Horizontal Lifelines are safety systems used to protect workers operating in the horizontal plane who may not have continuous access to suitable anchorage points. They can be temporary or permanent, and vary by connection point, connection type and number of users.
Access Systems provide purpose-built fall protection anchor points that can surround equipment that requires work at height, such as rail cars, aircraft or vehicles, often consisting of a ladder access system, jib or mobile frame.
Considerations when Choosing an Anchorage Connector
There are many types of anchorage connectors available, each designed to offer a combination of features that fit a particular job. In general, you will want to consider:
Structure & Attachment Type
Anchorages are sold by what they connect to, and the structure will often require a specific type of attachment means. All-purpose wrap-around choker style anchorage connectors are the most versatile and will connect to various structure shapes and sizes. In addition, anchors are offered for steel, concrete, roofs and even specialty styles for poles, leading edges and more.
Portable or Permanent Installation
Anchors can be permanently installed for areas accessed often, or portable for temporary anchor points. Permanently installed anchors are typically constructed from durable, heavy-duty and corrosion resistant materials for extended periods of use and longevity.
Fixed or Mobile Style
Fixed anchor point are typically the easiest to use and find – they remain in one place and limit your work space. Mobile anchors move with you expanding your work area for maximum freedom of movement. You will also need to consider the connecting subsystem attached (ex. lanyard, self-retracting lifeline).
Durability, Usability & Strength
All components must be made from quality materials strong enough to endure rough handling and exposure to the elements, and easy to use so they are used consistently and correctly. Your anchor and connecting components must be rated for your application such as fall arrest, rescue, work positioning or material handling. Choose one that maximizes strength, minimizes weight and offers maximum usability.
Considerations when Choosing a Horizontal Lifeline
Horizontal lifelines may be temporary or permanent – learn more about building permanent horizontal lifelines into a structure using engineered lifeline systems. In either case, there are several considerations:
Anchorage Structure Type
The structure your system must attach to, such as an I-beam, rebar stud, concrete column or roof, can dictate the type of specialized system required. A horizontal lifeline may appear to be a basic line strung between two anchors, but it is not. It is critical to choose a system that has been precision engineered and rigorously tested for the application and structure it will be attached to.
Lifeline type or style can have a significant impact on your systems ease of use or installation, longevity and fall clearance to name just a few. Synthetic lines are extremely lightweight and compact while galvanized or stainless steel options offer added corrosion and abrasion resistance and typically require less fall clearance.
The distance between the work area and the next level or obstruction is often called “fall clearance,” and this is a critical factor when choosing your system. Anchorage height, type of lifeline and length are just a couple of factors that will affect the required clearance needed. It is critical to choose the right system and connecting components to arrest the workers fall prior to hitting the ground or obstruction.
Number of Users
These systems are used to protect workers operating in the horizontal plane who may not have continuous access to suitable anchorage points. Always consider the number of workers required to get the job done and choose a system that can accommodate those personnel safely. Systems are available for one, two, and even up to six workers depending upon your jobsite needs.
Tailoring Access Systems to Your Need
Depending on your need, you may be in the market for standard, common access systems, modular systems that can be adjusted to fit your application, or a wholly-new custom design. Whichever is right for you, 3M has the expertise and products to bring your vision to reality. When it comes to versatile, reliable fall protection for unique work environments, we will help you every step of the way:
Our pre-engineered standard systems accommodate most applications and environments. We will work closely with you to determine if the off-the-shelf system is appropriate or if customization is necessary.
A custom access solution is created based on your application requirements and design constraints. We will work together to determine goals and expectations; account for safety, code compliance, ergonomics and productivity; develop concepts and create 3D renderings of the solution; and work together to fine-tune the design.
In the engineering phase, we produce models and drawings to your exact specifications. Together, 3M and your team will validate the design solution, perform a structural analysis, select materials, and approve third-party components. Based on approval of detailed CAD drawings, we then produce a full production drawing package for fabrication.
Finally, expert welders and fabricators bring your project to life. From materials purchasing and scheduling, to fabrication, quality checks, delivery, and installation, we will work together through the entire project installation requirements.