Summary of ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Guidelines

Who is ANSI?

To properly comprehend the responsibility of ANSI, we must first understand who ANSI is and what is defined in their charter. ANSI stands for "American National Standards Institute". Standards writing committees are chartered by ANSI to develop certain standard practices and procedures for American Industry. When ANSI agrees to produce a National Consensus Policy, it typically issues a public invitation to form a committee consisting of several members of affected interest. Those members typically consist of representatives from those specific industries which may be affected by the standards they shall develop and author. Committee members generally are recruited from general industry, government (e.g. representatives from OSHA), labor unions, liability insurance carriers, and legal advisors. The Independent Committee, once approved by ANSI, is chartered to develop and author a specific set of practical policy guidelines for the engineering, manufacture, testing, and usage procedures of the products in question.

What does ANSI do?

ANSI does not regulate or enforce any laws or regulations. ANSI merely recommends policies to general industry and governmental regulatory agencies. ANSI policies are commonly known as Consensus Policies, although the committee's members do not have to be in unanimous agreement. A consensus agreement of a substantial majority is the only requirement to reach a recommendation. Once an ANSI committee issues it's recommendations, ANSI must review the recommendation prior to issuing its standard. The ramifications of implementation of the standards issued by ANSI are typically weighed by those industries and governmental regulatory agencies which are affected by the standards. With regard to ANSI standards involving significant safety issues, new laws are typically written soon after the introduction of revised ANSI Standards.

ANSI's Role with OSHA

OSHA logoOSHA is the governmental agency responsible for making the American Industrial Workplace safe from accidental injuries and death for its workforce. Since it would be virtually impossible for OSHA employees to know everything they must know about fall protection issues for all the various industries they service, OSHA Regulatory Standards Writers must solicit help from knowledgeable people from those industries affected by their policies. ANSI fills that role very capably.

What is ANSI Z359?

Originally published in 1992, ANSI Z359.1 was developed to provide standard safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems, and components. Its primary purpose was to provide guidance in regards to the design of fall protection systems and the variety of equipment used in the industry.

2007 Updates to the Fall Protection Standard

The ANSI Z359 Standard was approved on May 31, 2007. It is published in four components, as follows:

  • Z359.1 - "Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components"

  • Z359.2 - "Minimal Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program"

  • Z359.3 - "Safety Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems"

  • Z359.4 - "Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components"

Read our opinion on the ANSI Z359updates from 2007

2009 Updates to the Fall Protection Standard

  • Z359.6 - "Specifications and Design Requirements for Active Fall Protection Systems"

  • Z359.12 - "Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems"

  • Z359.13 - "Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards"

As a leading designer, supplier, and installer of comprehensive fall protection systems, FPS can help you engineer and implement a system that will be ANSI Z3359 compliant.