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Anchor Points

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Anchor Points General Requirements

Anchor points and the structure supporting the system must be capable of supporting 5,000 pounds of force per attached person. Steel I-beams, concrete columns, large rebar, and steel columns are common examples of structures that can be used for anchor points. If these types of structures are not available in the work area, an "engineered system" may be used. Where beams will be used as an anchor point, a cross-arm strap may be necessary. Cross-arm straps must be inspected prior to use and at least annually. Softeners may be necessary to protect the cross-arm strap on beams that are rough or have sharp edges which can tear or cut into the strap. The hardware of the connecting device (i.e. lanyard) must be connected to the hardware of the cross-arm strap.

Only specially designed lanyards may be used to wrap around a column or beam and connect back to the lanyard webbing (i.e. "tie-back"). Regular lanyards used in this manner have often failed, resulting in injury or death. Do not use regular lanyards in this manner.

Eye-bolts are rated along the axis of the bolt, and strength is greatly reduced if the force (of a fall) is applied at right angles to the axis (i.e. side-load). Full capacity is in the direction of the shaft. Care should also be exercised in selecting the proper diameter of the eye to avoid creating a roll-out hazard (i.e. accidental disengagement of the snap hook of the connecting device from the eye bolt). Have a "qualified person" review the setup prior to using.


Permanent Anchor Points

Some university buildings have permanently installed bollards to be used for personal fall arrest. This anchor point is designed for single attachment (i.e. 1 person) and is rated for at least 5,000 lbs. Some bollards are designed for double (i.e. 2 persons) attachment. Double bollards are designed to support 10,000 lbs. and will have two connection rings. Other roofs may have an anchor point located on a parapet wall.

singular roof anchor

Mobile Anchor Points

In recent years, mobile anchor points have been provided on new building roofs and those being renovated. These mobile anchor points are considered engineered systems, and the primary use is for fall restraint.

  • Only trained personnel may use fall arrest systems.
  • Attach lanyard/retractable to the center eye ring only.
  • Maximum of 2 attached workers for fall restraint (fall point cannot be reached), or 1 attached worker for fall arrest (force of fall is minimized).
  • Maximum weight of attached workers cannot exceed 310 lbs. for this engineered system.
  • Mobile anchor points may be moved to decrease the distance to the worksite, if necessary. If moved, assembly/disassembly must be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Mobile anchor points on roof

Engineered Systems

The anchor point for an engineered system must be capable of supporting at least two times the maximum allowable force (i.e. 1,800 lbs.), or 3,600 pounds. This system must be determined by a "qualified person." When a shock-absorbing lanyard is used, the maximum allowable force is greatly reduced to around 900 pounds (for a 200-pound person), resulting in an anchor point that must support at least (2 x 900) 1,800 pounds.

Horizontal life lines:

Horizontal Life Lines (HLL) are systems that consist of two anchorage points, a cable and turnbuckle, an optional in-line energy absorber, and a connecting device. HLLs may be installed permanently for a location, or as a temporary fall protection solution for a specific job or task. HLLs must be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a "qualified person", and must maintain a safety factor of at least two. Personnel using the system must be trained on the proper use of the system prior to use. Systems should be inspected and maintained per the manufacturer's recommendations.

horizontal life lines

Vertical life lines:

Vertical Life Lines (VLL) shall only have one attached person per line. Multiple tie-offs to a single life, if one person falls, can result in pulling other attached employees and causing them to fall as well.


Contact Information

Robin McCall-Miller, Occupational Safety Program Manager