New ANSI standard amends fall protection specifications for man-up lift trucks
February 28, 2013 - MMH Editorial
A new safety standard has been published for the use of lanyard and harness restraint systems on forklifts. On February 23, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard ANSI/ITSDF B56.1, clause 4.17 was revised. It now requires all users of man-up lift trucks to issue personal fall protection equipment based on the operator’s weight, and mandates the use of an energy-absorbing or self-retracting lanyard. Although compliance with ANSI’s consensus standards is voluntary, many are often adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Ron Grisez, manager of product safety for Crown Equipment, was a member of the ASNI task group that worked on the standard. Whereas most new standards are geared toward equipment manufacturers, the revised B56.1 standard includes changes to both the manufacturer section and the user section. Grisez has been with Crown since 2008 and said this was the first time he had seen a change to the user section.
Fixed-length lanyards are no longer permitted, but Grisez says they were already rarely used in the field according to his personal experience. More common is the use of full-body harnesses and lanyards rated to a capacity of 310 pounds or less. Under the new standard, employees weighing between 311 and 400 pounds will require lanyards rated accordingly.
The ANSI task group had been working on the new standard since 1994, and Grisez joined the group in 2008. According to Grisez, the standard received some pushback due to the then-widespread use of body belts. Grisez said body belts are not used much in general industry, where full harnesses are now preferred, but were a holdover in some man-up lift truck applications.
Jonathan Dawley, president of Hyster Distribution, said it’s important for the industry to understand the ANSI standard is not an OSHA requirement. “Rather, these standards help lift truck operations stay at the head of best practices leadership by using top product and safety equipment.”
Bill Pfleger, president of Yale Distribution, said Yale Materials Handling Corporation been following ANSI standards since the 1950s. He said that although the standards are not coming from OSHA, the Yale dealer network has been working extensively to help customers become educated and compliant. “We are in communication with dealers and customers to help them understand these industry best practice standards and their place in relation to OSHA standards and requirements.”