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Toolbox Talk: Positioning Hooks Best Practices

By September 21, 2023 No Comments

Positioning hooks, aka P-hooks, are used as fall protection for construction workers who are working on vertical systems. For example, ironworkers use positioning devices when tying rebar on retaining walls or columns. They are typically two hook systems that allow the worker to climb up the wall, hook off, and lean back into it. This keeps workers from falling and will enable them to use both hands while working. OSHA’s (WISHA uses the same language) safety compliance regulations for positioning device systems 1926.502(e) are noted below.

Positioning device systems and their use shall conform to the following:

  • Shall be rigged such that an employee cannot free fall more than 2 feet
  • Chain shall not be twisted or knotted to shorten the length
  • Anchor points for these systems must be capable of supporting twice the potential impact load of an employee’s fall or 3,000 pounds, whichever is greater
  • All connectors shall be drop forged, pressed, or formed steel or made of equivalent materials
  • Connectors shall have a corrosion-resistant finish, and all surfaces shall be smooth
  • Connecting assemblies shall have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds
  • D-rings and snaphooks shall be proof-tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds without cracking, breaking, or taking permanent deformation
  • Snaphooks shall be sized to be compatible with the member to which they are connected or shall be a locking type designed and used to prevent disengagement
    • As of January 1, 1998, only locking-type snaphooks shall be used
  • Unless the snaphook is a locking type and designed for the following connections, snaphooks shall not be engaged:
    • directly to webbing, rope, or wire rope
    • to each other
    • to a D-ring to which another snaphook or other connector is attached
    • to a horizontal lifeline
    • to any object that is incompatibly shaped
  • Shall be inspected before each use for wear, damage, and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service
    • If the manufacturer’s label is not legible or is missing, the equipment shall be removed from service
    • Fall protection equipment shall be removed from service upon evidence of defects, damage, or deterioration or upon the manufacturer’s specified service limits expiration, whichever comes first
  • Body belts, harnesses, and components shall be used only for employee protection (as part of a fall arrest system or positioning device system) and not to hoist materials

When using positioning hooks, you should ensure the connectors are operating properly. Snap hooks should have a double locking mechanism that prevents the latch from opening without releasing the first lock. When released, the snap hook should spring into the locked position. You should not connect snap hooks with large throat openings to standard-size D-rings or similar objects. This can result in a load on the gate.

Using the rebar lanyards for positioning work:

Step 1. Inspect the rebar lanyard for positioning before installation. Do not use it if there are signs of damage, defect, or missing parts.

Step 2. Select an anchorage for attachment. Inspect the anchorage location before installation. Do not use if the location fails inspection criteria; relocate the attachment point to a qualified location.

Step 3. Connect the rebar lanyard’s double-locking snaphooks to the qualified side positioning attachment points specified on the user’s harness. Each snaphook should attach to separate D-rings. Do not connect snaphooks to each other, and do not connect multiple snaphooks to the same harness attachment point. The single, larger rebar hook should remain unattached at this stage of use.

Step 4. Attach the rebar hook to the qualified structure at a horizontal and vertical rebar junction or connect to a structural member capable of withstanding the intended loads that do not pose a disengagement danger.
Attach the rebar hook to compatible-sized anchorages.

Caution: Making your own hooks to use as a positioning device is strictly prohibited. You should always consult OSHA for safety compliance regulations

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