We at W.S. Safety, have been enjoying the new show on AMC's 'Better Call Saul'. Without giving away too many spoilers, on Season 1, Episode 4, 'Hero', there is a great scene that shows us the importance of using proper fall protection equipment and how it can save lives. We certainly don't encourage 'staging of accidents for media attention though'. The scene starts with a worker removing a sign from a bill-board. You don't often see scenes in movies, tv shows, etc, where a fall protection saves someone from injury or death, so it was great seeing this system in action on Better Call Saul.
Suddenly the worker 'falls' from the bill-board and is suspended in the air and saved by his harness and lanyard. Saul then acts quickly to climb the billboard and initiate a rescue.
The worker in the clip is connected to a cable fall arrest system, not sure of the manufacturer though. There are numerous manufacturers of cable systems including DBI Sala, Latchways, and Honeywell Safety, just to name a few. It appears that he is wearing a DBI Sala Exofit harness, which is a great harness and we recommend it to our customers who have crews that need to wear a harness all day long. It's the harness that our crews use when working on site. It is quick to don and very comfortable with extra back, shoulder, and leg padding.
Back to the clip in question though. As entertaining as it is to see a fall protection being utilized to save someone in a fall, it is also important to have a proper rescue procedure in place for retrieving a user who has fallen and is suspended by the system. Saul Goodman makes it look fairly easy to just reach down and pull up the fallen worker but in reality that would take an immense amount of effort and strength to lift a fallen 200lb + person up to the working surface. Capital Safety discusses the importance of a Fall Protection Safety Plan. Our turn-key fall protection system projects include a rescue plan draft so our customers can fine tune the details to suit their worksite. Suspension trauma can occur very quickly and being suspended in a harness can start to cause other sorts of trauma to the body in as little as a few minutes after the fall. Wikipedia has a good explanation with further info. Suspension Trauma.
We, at W.S. Safety, have extensive experience with recommending and installing the best systems for our customers and would be pleased to review any challenging projects or work procedures so that workers can safely return home to their families at the end of the day. Whether it's for roof safety, protecting skylights, rooftop walkways, climbing onto a bus or truck, or whatever unique work environment you may have, we have the perfect solution to your fall hazard.
In conclusion, fall protection equipment is only useful if you are using it and where it is not practical to use rooftop guardrails then a cable system with lanyard and full body harness as shown on this episode may be a good option. Users need to be properly fall protection trained and a rescue plan needs to be in place to minimize suspension trauma. And, as of April 1, 2015, any workers working at height require training to an MOL approved fall protection program.