Case study: absence of anchor points

17 February 2023

To date, until 2020 (consolidated data) there have been many fatal cases due to accidents in the workplace. About 32.9% of them are due, according to the reports detected by the INAIL – InformStat portal, to accidents due to falls from height or deep of the injured person. There are many campaigns promoted by trade associations, by the government, as well as by companies in the sector, and so how is it possible that the actions made to date this data is still so evident? First of all, any casuistry given by the distraction of man as an operator should be excluded, because multiple factors should be considered that should be explained more broadly.  In addition to considering the responsibility of the figures used for the safety of the workplace and the responsibility of the employer for the preparation of safety measures, all the risks related to the operator’s task and the workplace must be considered. Specifically, there are still cases in which, during work at height, anchoring systems are absent or inadequate.  Vd Corte di Cassazione – Sentenzeweb Taking into consideration the latest available annual report issued by the INL, where the violations ascertained by the inspectorate and competent bodies are carried out, the risk of falling from a height prevails, certainly the most widespread among the types of accidents at work that involves, in most cases, serious and fatal accidents. From the violations ascertained throughout the national territory, about 50% are due to the risks of falling from height. This is the figure for 2020. Many of the penalties are due to the total absence of adequate personal protection systems and the failure to protect openings towards the void, the irregularity of scaffolding and the use of unauthorized safety systems. This only in 2022, during which there was a coordinated activity by the inspectorates throughout the national territory. source: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy From these data, it is clear that there is still much to be done. More stringent measures are needed to ensure safety in the workplace and accident prevention, such as greater dissemination of safety information and training, constant monitoring of activities, the use of certified personal protective equipment and periodic verification of anchorage systems. Only in this way can further tragedies due to accidents in the workplace be avoided.

What are fall protection anchor points?

Fall protection anchor points are safety devices developed to prevent injuries caused by falls from height. They are installed on a surface to provide an anchor point for personnel working at high-risk heights. The anchor points can be permanent or temporary, and must be certified according to current regulations. The choice of material, shape and location of anchor points will depend on the type of processing to be performed. In addition, it is important to ensure that the load-bearing structures are sufficiently robust and able to effectively support the maximum expected load. Before installation, it is necessary to check that all connections are tight and that no part of the anchor point has been damaged or corrosion. Once installed, the anchor point must be periodically inspected and maintained in good condition so that it can guarantee a high level of safety to those working in high-risk places.

Which regions have mandatory lifelines?

In Italy, the obligation to install an anchoring system (lifelines) on the roofs of buildings is foreseen by some regions. For example, in Lombardy the D.G.R. n. 18/4289 of 13 December 2018 was introduced, which provides for the obligation to install life lines on the roof of buildings with a height of more than 30 meters. In addition, in Veneto there is an obligation to install life lines on buildings with a height of more than 20 meters, as established by the Decree of the President of the Regional Council no. 1237 of 12 September 2017. The Emilia-Romagna Region, on the other hand, has approved a law (Regional Law no. 14/2017) which requires the installation of life lines in the roofs of buildings and floors with a height of more than 10 meters, while the Piedmont Region has provided for the obligation to install life lines on the roof of buildings with a height of more than 25 meters with Regional Law no. 9/2018 of 21 February 2018. In addition, the Abruzzo and Marche regions provide for the obligation to install life lines on buildings with a height of more than 15 meters, as established by Regional Law No. 19/2006 of the Abruzzo Region and Regional Law No. 32/2008 of the Marche Region.

The absence of mandatory lifelines in certain regions does not exclude the responsibility and obligation to make workers or employees working at height safe, as established by Legislative Decree 81/08.


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