PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) care, maintenance, and inspection are essential aspects of ensuring the effectiveness and safety of these equipment items. Proper care and maintenance of PPE, such as harnesses, lanyards with shock absorbers, retractable webbing lanyards, ropes, webbing slings, temporary static lines, and work positioning lanyards, help prolong their lifespan and ensure that they function correctly when needed.
To identify, inspect and maintain height safety equipment we have set out criteria for your guidance. This includes:
All items of equipment which are in regular use shall be subjected to periodic formal inspection (test and tagging) and where applicable, servicing in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Where an operator is not competent to carry out this inspection, the inspection shall be carried out by an operator who is competent or a height safety supervisor.
Key things to inspect on your PPE include.
DOM / DOW
Buckles / Connectors Metal burrs
Inspection Checklist: During inspections, follow a checklist to ensure a thorough examination of each equipment item. Some common points to consider include:
Check for any signs of wear, cuts, abrasions, fraying, or discolouration.
Inspect hooks, buckles, carabiners, or other connectors for deformities, cracks, or malfunctioning mechanisms.
Webbing and ropes:
Look for any signs of damage, such as cuts, burns, or excessive wear. Pay attention to stitching integrity.
Shock absorbers: Examine shock absorbers for proper functionality and signs of damage.
Labels and markings: Ensure that all labels, markings, and identification tags are legible and up to date.
FREQUENCY OF INSPECTION
Regular inspections should be conducted to identify any signs of damage, wear, or other issues that may affect the performance of PPE. The frequency of inspections depends on the type of equipment and the manufacturer's recommendations. Generally, a visual inspection should be performed before each use, and a more detailed inspection should occur at regular intervals.
All components of personal fall protection/fall arrest systems must be inspected by a competent person at intervals of no more than six months.
3 monthly inspection
Fall arrest devices (type 1), Rope and adjusters/fall arrest devices.
6 monthly inspection
Harnesses, Lanyards with shock absorbers, Retractable webbing lanyards, All ropes, Webbing slings, temporary static lines, Work positioning lanyards.
Anchors, Tripods, Pulleys, hardware, Self-retracting lifelines (type 2 & 3)
RECORD OF PPE INSPECTION
It is crucial to maintain records of PPE inspections and maintenance activities. These records can help track the history of each equipment item, monitor its condition over time, and ensure compliance with relevant safety regulations. Record information should include the date of inspection, the person conducting the inspection, any identified issues, and the actions taken (e.g., repairs or replacements).
Proper maintenance practices contribute to the longevity and reliability of PPE. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning, storage, and any specific maintenance requirements. Some general maintenance practices include:
Remove dirt, debris, or contaminants using a specialist cleaner or a mild detergent and water. Wash with a soft, non-abrasive brush or sponge and allow to air dry after removing the excess water with a dry cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may degrade the materials.
Ensure that PPE is thoroughly dried before storage to prevent the growth of mold or mildew. DO NOT put personal protection equipment in a clothes dryer or use a blow dryer. Excessive heat may melt the webbing and alter its strength.
Store PPE in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, or chemicals that could cause damage.
Any damaged or malfunctioning PPE should be repaired or replaced immediately. Do not attempt to repair PPE unless you are trained and authorized to do so.
Personal protection equipment (harnesses, lanyards, etc.) along with connectors and other related items should be stored in a clean, dry environment free from direct sunlight, dust, excessive heat and harmful chemicals.
Remember, the information provided here is a general overview for ZERO PPE, and it's essential to consult the specific guidelines and instructions provided by the manufacturers of your PPE. Following these guidelines will help ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your PPE and promote a safe working environment.