What Does Anchor Point Mean?
An anchor point, or anchorage, is one component of a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), which is designed to prevent injury to workers should they fall from their worksite.
This refers specifically to the point at which an anchoring device is affixed, fastened, tied, or otherwise connected to a support location. Anchor points must be installed on stable locations that are strong enough to support the falling weight of a worker attached to the PFAS.
Safeopedia Explains Anchor Point
The use of anchor points is addressed as part of OSHA’s fall protection safety regulations, which rely on quality standards for fall protection equipment that are set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI standard Z359.18 governs the specifications that anchoring devices must meet to qualify as part of an OSHA-compliant anchor point.
From a health and safety perspective, the anchor points used in workplaces are divided into two different categories—those installed by certified engineers and those installed by non-engineers who are recognized as having the basic level of competency necessary to install an anchor point. In the United States, engineer-installed anchor points are referred to as “certified anchorages,” and all other points are referred to as “non-certified anchorages.”
Certified and non-certified anchorages are addressed separately in OSHA regulations. Non-certified anchorages are covered under OSHA regulation 1910.140(c) (13)(i), which states that all non-certified anchor points must be able to support at least 5,000 lbs of weight for every employee attached to the anchor point. In contrast, OSHA regulation 1910.140(c) (13)(ii) requires that certified anchor points only need to be capable of supporting two times the load applied to the anchor point in the case of a fall. This weight is usually significantly less than 5,000 pounds, often in the area of 1,800 to 2,400 lbs.
Certified anchor points are allowed to support less weight because the engineer certifying them is better-qualified to understand exactly how much falling weight needs to be supported and how much weight the anchor point is capable of supporting. The weight-support requirements that apply to non-certified anchor points are designed to leave significant “room for error” in case the person assessing the anchor point makes a mistake.