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Harness recommendations?

Discussion in 'Safety' started by Aaron Clarke, Apr 16, 2019 at 12:01 PM.

  1. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    Location:
    Richmond, IN
    Afternoon group!

    So its time I make the push for a little increased safety in my theatre. Our fly system was installed in 1992 mostly by a 'well informed' community member rather than the whole system being designed by and installed by professionals. Over all they got very lucky as there are only a few minor deficiencies.

    The largest safety deficiency I have to the moment that I can address is the ladder access to the loading bridge and the lack of any safety devices. Its a ~50' climb up an aluminum ladder (kid you not, actual extension ladder extensions) bolted to the wall, no cage, no safety lines. This is my target for the first step to a more safety minded attitude as I want to start season to require use of a harness and safety line when accessing and working the loading bridge.

    Keeping in mind all those working here are volunteers, very amateur level. Introducing them to fall arrest gear isn't going to go over well at first but I have the board behind me. You can all hear the "we've never had a problem in the 27 years so far" argument but don't give a sh!t, its time to step it up.

    Okay- Backstory down, now the question(s):
    Keeping in mind they are all volunteers and I can't afford a dozen various sized and types of harnesses to have around. Does any have any recommendations towards a universal fit style harness at a reasonable cost? A style with just 3-4 on hand would cover just about any size/shape of person even if two of the same size/shape was going up together.

    I've looked at BMI and Sapsis and pretty much all have to be ordered in specific sizes. I really like the options from Sapsis (and will most likely buy my own from there) but for general volunteers I'd like something more universal. They don't have to be pretty, just safe, easy to use and actually hold them should they fall.

    My next question is going to veer towards self retractable lines. I'm figuring attaching two of these up top and keeping them clipped at the bottom will be the easiest install without getting an outside company taking the cost far beyond what I can squeeze out of them. Note the main steel for our head blocks is right above the ladder so I know I have a capable mounting location for the lines.
    If anyone has recommendations on reliable, good quality self retracting life lines in the 50' range that won't break the bank I'd appreciate input.

    I understand this whole topic walks the liability, I don't want to get sued, if you don't know hire someone and just because you saw it online doesn't mean its true territory so I'm fine with non specific or off line answers/questions. I would love to hire a safety company to do an assessment and install, but we just can't afford it and I myself have had a close call so I want something better than nothing asap, then down the road as we look at some major structural repairs to fly loft, we can nudge replacing the access into that project.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  2. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Sounds and Screens at America's roller coast.
    Location:
    Sandusky, Ohio
    I own a Sala. They are pretty adjustable, so a few large, a XL and a medium would probably cover you. Or perhaps a universal one.

    What I have: https://www.harnessland.com/DBI-SALA-ExoFit-Construction-Harness-p/1108978-dbi.htm

    What might work well for you: https://www.harnessland.com/Delta-Universal-Harness-p/1102000.htm


    For the vertical climb, I'd recommend a cable and a climbing sleve/arrester/cable grip type of setup.


    Back in the day... we'd have 'em all in Swiss seats...
     
    coldnorth57 and RonHebbard like this.
  3. Lynnchesque

    Lynnchesque Member

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    Occupation:
    Up-Rigger
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    I also use a dbi-sala exofit style harness. It's pretty light and has enough pads to be comfy for extended use... I don't think you need all those bells an whistles for a ladder harness though.

    A Retractable line seems like a good choice, simple enough to use, and what I've seen used to protect most ladders around here. I'm not sure it is meant to be used to protect movement horizontally though IE: working along the loading bridge.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  4. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Rigging specialist
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I commend you on taking steps to improve the safety of those working in your theatre. I don't want to deter you from taking actions to prevent people from going splat, but I feel I need to respond to your post with a few questions and comments.

    1. Do you KNOW that the Head Block Beam can support an additional 5000lbs load as required by OSHA for an un-certified anchorage?
    2. What is your rescue plan for when someone falls and is unable to rescue themselves?
    3. Are you qualified to design the complete system, create the rescue plan, train the users on proper operation of the systems, train the rescuers, and document all that training? All of this is required when using a PFAS system.

    I pose these questions to illustrate that designing a PFAS that will not only keep people from going splat but will also not expose them to suspension trauma after the fall, as well as not exposing others to risk when trying to rescue the victim, is not as strait forward as buying a harness, lanyard, and anchorage device. You should price out what it would really cost to have a qualified person design your system including developing the rescue plan, and facilitating the training, before determining that it's to expensive. The price paid to do it correctly will always be less than the price of the lawsuit if its done improperly.

    Regards,
    Ethan
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
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    Oak Park, IL (708)983-5792
    Iirc, recent study has shown cages around ladders are not effective at protecting users from falls. But research.
     
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  6. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    @BillConnerFASTC you’re correct. OSHA has revised their fixed ladder regulations to require Fall arrest for strait ladders over 24’ tall installed after November of 2018. After 2036 all fix ladders regardless of when installed must have pfas.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  7. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Do you know if 24' is floor to floor to floor to top rung or floor to top of stiles? The cage requirement was unclear in this regard.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.

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