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Re: Fall protection

Subject: Re: Fall protection
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 20:07:14 -0700
On Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 06:48:52PM -0700, Chas. Schlismann wrote:
> I need to clamber about my steep roofs to do some work.  I've fallen off my 
>house roof four times, so I need some help with a system that will allow some 
>mobility yet provide protection.  I'm thinking about some sort of harness 
>system but don't understand why some cost under $50 and others well into the 
>hundreds of $$. 

Mostly comfort.

>  On my last trip up I tied a v. long piece of nylon rope about my torso, 
>threw the other end (weighted) over the roof and had my son tie it to a truck 
>bumper.  I felt very much a jewel thief or spy.  The plan was for my son to 
>use the bumper as a capstan and wind up the slack as I moved up.  My boy went 
>to the head so I wound the cord around my gut as I worked my way up the rear 
>dormer.  The missus came out and yelled up that she was going to the store and 
>fired up the truck...

You're lucky you didn't fall with the rope around your torso.  That'll crack
ribs and then suffocate you if you don't get cut down in a hurry.

I used to rock climb and I spent a couple years climbing trees for
the forest service.  Rock climbing gear is different than utility
gear (mostly in that it is lighter and sacrifices some comfort
and durability) but basically there is a seat harnes that you can
sit in/on, and a chest harness that keeps you upright when you fall
or hang.

Rock climbing ropes have to have some give to them so when you take
a leader fall (where you are above the last tie down, so you fall 2x the
distance, assuming it holds that is) the rope stretches and doesn't
pull you up suddenly.  Falling 40 feet on say a steel cable would
really hurt.  Climbing ropes are more like stiff rubber bands.
These are the ropes that need to be replaced after serious falls
although they can handle a number of smaller falls.

Utility climbing ropes don't have the stretch, since you are always tied off
to something above you.    And some special climbing ropes don't stretch
since they aren't made for falls but are made for rapelling or sections
where someone ties the rope off and climbers 'climb' the rope using
mechanical locking devices.

I happened to be looking through an Amazon Tool Crib (yo!) catalog
last night and spotted a "nailers fall protection compliance kit"
Besides the title making me think they care more about meeting the letter
of some OSHA law than actual safety, it looks ok.  Seat and chest harness, 
rope, jumar (mechanical rope lock), and some sort of gizmo that's
obviously meant to fit on the peak of the roof and be the tie on point.
Sale $129.


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