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The powers that be have decided we need a handrail across the cradles on the loading gallery "in case some one falls". I am against this idea as the only times I have been injured or nearly dropped a weight is when working in places that had one. I don't think I can dissuade them SO I was wondering what people thought of a tensioned steel wire rope as a hand rail, it wouldn't cause anything like the issues that a scaffolding handrail would but would it be ok , in principle?
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Steel wire rope would not meet any definition of being a handrail - it might just qualify as a barrier to present fall but only if properly designed and installed as such. You need to pin down the definitions of EXACTLY what risk their risk assessment has identified then come up with a solution that resolves that - it might be a handrail, if might be a fall arrest system, it might just be training or changes in working practice to dramatically reduce the risk.


To answer your core question though- handrail and wire rope are not interchangeable so “in principle” that’s not ok but your actual risk assessment might make one or the other ok

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I feel you may lose out on this one, in the short term at least. Whereas the likelihood of it happening may be very low, the damage that would occur is very high, so would definitely put it in a mid level risk at best.


Once the handrail is in, you'll need to revise the risk assessment for loading and unloading the cradles. If you can demonstrate that having the handrail there is making the task worse (manual handling, twisting of the back etc) then you may be able to argue for an alternative to get it removed. I think a fall restraint system would be optimal in this situation, but the cost would be prohibitive, and I'm sure "the powers that be" would want a handrail first as a no maintenance, cheap solution.


Maybe work with them to see if the handrails can be installed at heights that allow you to still carry out the task? Then at least you're being seen to having a good attitude and someone who wants to work with them, rather than against them?

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I think you are talking about fall arrest rather than fall restraint, Ninja, which latter is simple, cheap and maintenance free and is where a steel wire rope might be a possible solution. My link


Surely a fall/work restraint would be the better of the two options? With a restraint, you should not, in theory, not be able to be in a position where a fall becomes possible, whereas an arrest system could well leave someone dangling, along with all the rescue plans and such like that would then have to come into play?!

Edited by IRW
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