Fall arrest systems and flammable liquids are totally incompatible and should never be used together. Flammable liquids can become unstable and start a fire or explode. Should an emergency like this occur, fall arrest gear could trap a worker and not allow him/her to escape the danger.
When working with flammable liquids there are extra precautions that should be taken. Per OSHA, “safety belts and lanyards should not be used when loading flammable liquids because the employee should be able to move freely in case of a fire.” However, within the liquids terminal industry there is some concern because rail cars and tank trucks come in different configurations. So until all transportation vehicles are uniform, solutions need to be flexible enough so workers are allowed to use the most appropriate fall protection systems for their operational requirements.
It would be a tragedy to have an employee stuck in a harness, shock-absorbing lanyard, or safety net and unable to escape in an emergency. There are better ways to work safely around flammable liquids. This is one of many instances where fall prevention trumps fall protection – preventing a fall is far better than trying to stop one. Prevention can also be beneficial during a fire since aluminum and other metal constructions are not flammable and guard rails, non-slip surfaces can be a plus in an intense situation. Workers will be able to find their way out quickly with no second-guessing. It’s far too easy to panic and step off and unprotected edge or fall through a hole. But if fall prevention is in place that situation cannot happen. If a worker is wearing a fall arrest system and falls while everyone else is evacuating that worker could be left hanging, literally, to die of “harness hang syndrome” long before smoke inhalation or fire can kill him/her.
This is why it’s absolutely essential that all workers know how to use fall prevention equipment. Each company must keep safety as a top priority and evaluate the safety plan on a regular basis. Dealing with flammable liquids may not always provide one simple solution since currently tank trucks and rail cars don’t have uniform configurations. Until they do, job duties should be evaluated on a regular basis to determine which type of fall prevention is best to employ when dealing with flammable liquids.
As a world leader in fall prevention, Carbis can help you determine the necessary equipment to keep your employees safe and job tasks flowing smoothly whether your company works with flammable or any other type of liquids.
Click Here or call 1-800-948-7750 to contact Carbis today — we can help you determine the right fall protection solutions for your specific applications.