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MythBusters Use Fall Protection in Cliffhanger Reenactment

May 1, 2013 General Safety

Of course we love the Discovery Channel show MythBusters. The experiments they attempt often involve doing dangerous things while wearing the proper safety equipment. Sure, sometimes things go wrong. Nobody seems to be able to let that cannonball incident go.

If you don’t remember the cannonball, here’s what the Washington Post had to say about it. The cannonball fired near a San Francisco neighborhood took an “unforeseen bounce.” “Then…the errant cannonball stormed off the set and headed over to a residential neighborhood, bounced off a sidewalk, tore through someone‚Äôs front door, zipped up the stairs and through an occupied bedroom, blew out the back of the house, blasted over a six-lane thoroughfare and skimmed the top of another house, before brutally attacking a parked Toyota minivan.”

At the end of the day, nobody got hurt. And you have to love that paragraph. But we recently got hold of another clip from the MythBusters, and we have been wondered about their fall protection program. Is it as full of holes (seriously, we couldn’t resist) as their cannon aiming?

Harness, Lanyard, and an SRL

In this clip we see the show’s star, Jamie Hyneman, wearing an excellent Delta Construction Harness for fall protection as he attempts to recreate a scene from the also excellent, but in a different way, Cliffhanger movie with Sylvester Stallone.

As I say, we are all in favor of folks sporting Delta harnesses, and it appears he is also wearing a DBI-SALA Shockwave 2 Shock Absorbing Lanyard. Where it looks like it’s going off the rails, so to speak, from an OSHA standards viewpoint (and we’re not at all sure this is something that would even need to meet those standards) is the fact that he’s hooked the lanyard rebar hook to another hook which is attached to a Self-Retracting Lifeline or SRL. And this, from a manufacturer’s recommendation standpoint, is strictly a no-no.

We’re perfectly willing to ignore the fact that the SRL was suspended from the prongs of a forklift. I have no idea if that is capable of supporting 5,000 lbs. and is a suitable anchor for the device. Clearly it worked. The fall protection did its job and he lived. The fall clearance was more than adequate for the fall protection. Nor was there any real chance of roll-out, which is the major fear when two hooks are paired together.

So, while it may not have been pretty, and it didn’t strictly obey OSHA regulations for fall safety implementation, we are pleased that nobody sustained any injuries, and the show will go on for it’s upcoming 10th season. Go MythBusters!