CSA International announces a product safety alert for Class FRL Fall Protection Systems

PAR 01-10 May 26, 2010

CSA International today announces a product safety alert related to Class Frontal-Fixed Rail Ladder (FRL) Fall Protection Systems. Employers and workers are advised that under certain conditions, such as a backward fall, these products may not provide adequate fall protection.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has issued a related “Hazard Alert” on Class FRL Fall Protection Systems which can be found at www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/alerts/a26.php or in French atwww.labour.gov.on.ca/french/hs/pubs/alerts/a26.php

Hazard Summary
Falls are a significant cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. The use of proper fall protection equipment is critical to help protect the health and safety of workers.

A Class FRL Fall Protection System is a permanently installed metal rail anchoring system used with an automatic fall arresting device called the trolley (carriage). The trolley travels freely on the rail, allowing the worker to use both hands while climbing up or down. Should the worker slip or fall, the device should lock, limiting the worker’s fall.

A worker was recently injured after falling twenty metres from a ladder attached to a tower while using a Class FRL Fall Protection System. The Ministry of Labour, in conjunction with CSA International, has determined that the design of the Class FRL Fall Protection System used by the worker, which was certified to CSA Standard Z259.2.1-98, Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines, and Rails, did not adequately address all potential fall conditions.

In particular, the Class FRL Fall Protection System may not adequately protect workers who fall backward while connected to a vertical rail. Leaning back pulls the trolley’s internal braking mechanism off the rail allowing the trolley to slide down the rail. If a worker falls backwards (as opposed to straight down or inwards), the trolley may not lock, allowing a worker to fall.

Locations and Sectors
Class FRL Fall Protection Systems are used on vertical access ladders which normally do not have a cage such as the ladders on communications towers, chimneys and water tanks (towers). Class FRL Fall Protection Systems are normally found in industrial and construction applications.

Precautions
Class FRL Fall Protection Systems currently certified to CSA Z259.2.1-98 may not entirely prevent a worker’s fall. New requirements intended to address the safety concern are under development by the Technical Committee for Fall Protection Systems. Once available, all affected products will be tested for compliance to the new requirements.

In the interim, employers must take reasonable precautions to protect workers in these circumstances. This may include using additional and/or alternate fall protection or access systems, as appropriate, for the adequate protection of the health and safety of the worker.

Employers should contact the manufacturer or CSA at[email protected] or refer to the  Fall Protection Systems FAQ for assistance.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper use of fall protection equipment.

About CSA International

CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA’s marks appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of CSA Group, which also includes: CSA, a developer of standards and codes; and OnSpeX for consumer product evaluation services. CSA International can be found online at www.csa-international.org.

Contact

Anthony Toderian
Senior Media Relations Officer CSA Group
416-747-2620
[email protected]