A general documentation obligation applies to the installation and servicing of fall arrest devices. It is absolutely vital to compile this documentation as it is frequently impossible to review details as to how an anchorage point or system support was installed at a later point in time. This also explains why photographic documentation also plays an integral role in these documents. In addition, this documentation can also be used as proof vis-à-vis the contracting party.
The installation documentation must include certain key data, such as the manufacturer of the anchorage devices, the installation company and the technician who carried out the installation work, exact descriptions of the installed products and details on how these were attached to the subsurface. In order to ensure that the fall arrest system is used safely, a detailed plan showing exactly where all the anchorage devices are installed, also needs to be compiled.
Anchorage devices must be inspected at least once every 12 months. This annual inspection - and any required servicing - should be carried out by a specialist for personal protective equipment (PPE). It is absolutely essential to ensure that a complete set of installation documentation is available when the inspection is carried out. If this is missing and it is no longer possible to identify the manufacturer, access to the system will be prohibited. In the worst case, the system might even need to be replaced in accordance with DGUV Publication 201-056: “Basic planning guidelines for anchorage devices on roofs”. On the other hand, where documentation is available, it is also important to document that the inspection has been carried out by a specialist in line with the stipulations.
According to the prevention guidelines “Conducting expert inspections” issued by the DGUV, “specialized installation personnel” incorporates persons who are “capable of creating installation documentation”. Creating documentation is also an integral part of the training programme for qualification as a PPE specialist. Even when inspections are carried out further down the line, these must still be correctly documented by the specialist as, according to the DGUV provisions, this documentation constitutes a “safety evaluation for further usage”. As a result, both the installation technician and the specialist are under obligation to hand over a complete set of respective documents once their work has been completed.
Both the employers’ liability insurance associations and the DGUV provide templates for creating a complete set of documents. Various manufacturers also offer this service - often in combination with a maintenance contract aimed at guaranteeing that the anchorage devices are regularly inspected and can be operated without interruption. Customers can also use modern solutions, such as apps, which make it easy for them to compile, manage and review their installation and maintenance documentation in digital format. Digital documentation is also a good basis for achieving a high level of transparency and improving the availability of the required documents.