CoatingsPro Magazine

JUL 2013

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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What Does an ANSI Certification Mean? One important service ANSI offers is a consistent accreditation standard for product certification. In other words, ANSI recognizes the competence of certain bodies to carry out product verification and validation activities in accordance with requirements defined by American National Standards. The "bodies" can be either a third-party organization with a compliant lab or a manufacturer's accredited lab. The ultimate goal is to ensure a given product meets all requirements as defined in the standard. To achieve ANSI certification, products undergo meticulous testing and evaluation. This helps to ensure that each product meets specification and delivers optimal performance and safety for the end user. As a result, ANSI certified equipment is highly dependable and arguably the safest on the market. Certificates of compliance are available online for ANSI-certified equipment. What Is ANSI Z359.7? When it comes to general fall protection, ANSI Z359 is a key family of standards. Introduced in 1992, the ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code now covers a series of 17 fall-protection-related standards that address personal fall arrest systems, fall protection programs, anchorage con nec tors, sel f-ret rac t i ng dev ices (SRD), and more. The most recent addition — ANSI Z359.7 — sets a new standard for quality and verification testing of all fall protection products from harnesses to lanyards to SRDs. Now, in order for a fall protection product to be marked as "ANSI compliant," it must comply with Z359.7 as well as the applicable Z359 product standard. In other words, fall protection equipment must comply with all applicable aspects of the Z359 standard, including performance, design, markings, inspections, instructions, and maintenance. For example, a harness must meet the current 36 CoatingsPro g July 2013 Photo courtesy of Capital Safety that an OSHA regulation is violated, employers can face serious consequences, including citations and fines. requirements of both ANSI Z359.7 and ANSI Z359.1 (Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems, and Components) in order to be considered ANSI compliant. Though ANSI Z359.7 officially went into effect in October 2012, manufacturers were given a one-year grace period to ensure all their products were in compliance. Under Z359.7, all applicable fall protection products must be tested in an accredited lab setting that must be in compliance with ISO 17025: General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. This means that test labs must be audited annually and accredited by an outside agency. Additionally, lab structure and all measuring equipment must be in compliance and calibrated annually. ANSI Z359.7 also outlines three options for the qualification and verification testing of fall protection products: 1. A third-party organization with a compliant lab setting; 2. A manufacturer's accredited lab if witnessed by a representative of an accredited, independent lab; 3. A manufacturer's accredited lab, signed off and approved by a professional engineer. verification testing, which is performed after initial qualification testing is completed, must be performed every five years, if the manufacturer has a registered quality program, or every two years without a program in place. Although there are severa l ISO 17025 cer t if ied labs i n t he United States, many fall protection equipment manufacturers are now working toward housing their own accredited lab in order to achieve ANSI compliance for their product lines in a timely manner. It's important for the fall protection industry at large to recognize that ANSI compliance ser ves to improve t he safet y of at-height workers and t he qua lit y a nd reliabi lit y of t heir fall protection gear. ANSI is not only being OSHA compliant, but it is also t he sma r test, sa fest choice for a ny company. CP Cr aig Firl has extensive knowledge in the areas of fall protection applications, product development, and fall protection standards/ regulations. In particular, he focuses on the area of OSHA and ANSI standards, helping clients understand the regulations and how to comply. He has given numerous safety presentations to associations and work councils, as well as fall protection presentations to the Qualification testing must be performed on at least three units, and International Society for Fall Protection. Craig can be contacted at cfirl@capitalsafety.com

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