Fall protection needs an anchorage that is capable of holding in the event of a fall. Makes sense. But how do you know if a certain point is beefy enough to hold a full-grown man and his tools doing a 6-12 ft. free fall? Unless you've had a certified anchorage installed, chances are you won't know for certain. So try to err on the side of caution.
The old adage about anchorage points is that they need to support 5,000 lbs. We usually tell folks that if they can imagine dangling a Ford F150 from the anchorage spot, then it'll probably pass the test. This is an example of OSHA and ANSI trying to get folks to think beyond the bare minimum for support, and it's a good idea. If you're using the 5,000 lb. rule as your base-line, chances are pretty good you're looking for the types of anchorage points that will hold a falling worker no matter what the fall forces add up to be.
Now remember, we're talking here about the anchorage. This is where you attach your fall protection equipment. This is a beam you'll wrap your anchorage tie-off strap around, or a spot you can drill your permanent anchorage connector into.
A certified anchorage point has been designed and installed to an engineer's specifications. Certified anchorage points have different requirements according to ANSI Z359.2 – 2007. Since a qualified person is involved, and the strength of the anchor point is known, the requirement is only two times the maximum arresting force for certified anchorages. This is going to be less than the 5,000 lb. requirement in pretty much all cases, but more than sufficient for the forces that will potentially be acted upon it.
A certified anchorage doesn't have to be a fixed point either. The DBI-SALA Rooftop Anchor Point is designed as a movable anchor and is made to support a falling worker in certain situations. The caveat to this is if there will be multiple people attached to a certain anchor point obviously the load requirements will reflect the number of users. Clearly in this case, the forces will be greater than 5,000 lbs.
Hope this helps clarify the 5,000 lb. rule and explains what a certified anchorage is. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to call us at 800-829-9580 to discuss your specific application.