Fall Arrest Systems

Fall arrest systems use a body holding device connected to an anchor used to arrest a fall preventing collision with the ground or structures.

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Active Fall Arrest Solutions That Work

Fall arrest systems are used to arrest an employee in a fall from a walking-working surface and consist of a body harness, anchorage, and connector. These systems use a body holding device connected to a reliable anchor. The anchor, or means of connection may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or a suitable combination of these. Systems are designed to control a fall preventing collision with the ground or structures. Fall Arrest systems also provide the benefit of limiting harmful forces on the body.

Flexible Lifeline engineered fall arrest systems are OSHA 1910, OSHA 1926 and ANSI Z35 compliant and are used in a range of application, but most frequently used to protect rolling stock workers at height. They are the ideal solution when long spans of protection are required and particularly beneficial when workers need "ground-up" protection, full range of motion and use of both hands to enable the scaling ladders and structures to reach their working/walking surfaces. Fall Arrest systems are the ideal solution for truck trailer or railcar loading and unloading and/or tarping tasks and protecting aircraft mechanics and technicians in MRO facilities while they perform avionic maintenance and repair/upgrade tasks.

Types of Fall Arrest Systems

Enclosed rigid rail is a rack and trolley system that provides excellent linear fall arrest capability with minimal fall distances. Designed as single or dual-track system to accommodate one or multiple workers for your specific application – indoors or outside. Offered in several formats depending on the need and application including bridge formatflat tracktwin overhead.

Flexible Lifeline Systems cable-based solutions are 316 stainless steel cable and components that are designed to last for 20+ years. Overhead Lifeline solutions are economical and efficient for workers at height in aircraft hangars, in rail yards, truck bays, and in some industrial applications. Rooftop applications are generally multi-span lifeline or vertical lifelines.

Sockets and davits provide the option of roof-rigged or ground-rigged (code permitting) self-powered platforms with safe access and egress on the roof. Davit and socket systems are implemented worldwide, easy to operate, economical and readily customized. Socket systems are generally exposed, but can be recessed below the roof surface where a public space requires an aesthetic solution.

From pre-engineered rigid rooftop anchor posts and innovative portable systems to custom-designed overhead systems, Flexible Lifeline Systems offers anchor point solutions to meet a range of needs and budgets. OSHA and ANSI compliant, cost effective and easy to use, our tie off options anchors are being used in general industry and building maintenance applications around the world.

Flexible Lifeline Systems offers a wide range of portable, versatile, and reliable fall arrest solutions for unique work environments. From simple freestanding single point anchors to remote controlled, mobile, and height adjustable solutions, we have a portable fall protection solution for nearly every fall hazard imaginable.

Fall Arrest FAQs

What should a fall protection plan include?

Written fall protection procedures shall specify the fall protection equipment and systems used to protect authorized persons from each fall hazard and shall document the proper way to operate the specified fall protection equipment and systems, including installation, inspection, use, and dismantling.

What is the most inexpensive form of fall protection?

Trained FP expert can provide guidance to provide the most cost-effective and user-friendly system within a budget. Contrary to belief, no protection is the most expensive. There is often a tradeoff between the cost and effectiveness of a fall protection system. It is up to the employer to decide on the viability of any system.

What is clearance distance in fall protection?

Fall clearance is the minimum vertical distance needed between the worker’s feet and a lower level (this can be the ground level, but also a lower working platform for example) to prevent the worker from hitting the lower level in the event of a fall.

How is fall distance calculated?

Fall distance can be calculated by factoring the following lengths: anchorage height, free fall distance, harness stretch, height of the working platform, elongation distance of the arresting device, swing fall, safety factor, and other environmental factors.

How does a fall protection system work?

By decelerating the fall and reducing the loads on the worker during a fall through the process of absorbing energy created. The tradeoff is the difference of fall distance vs. forces imparted on the user.

Where should you anchor a personal fall protection system?

At a location where sufficient structural capacity (able to withstand 5000lbs or designed by a QP to a safety factor of 2) is available and sufficient fall clearance is available. It is always advisable for the anchorage points to be positioned at or above the d-ring of the harness to reduce loads and fall distance in the system. Consideration for swing falls also needs to be a factor for determining where an anchor should be located.

Can you mount a fall protection system to existing structure?

This depends on the capacity of existing steel. Most structures can support additional required loads. The final decision should be based on structural analysis in accordance with all applicable codes by a Professional Engineer who is also a Qualified Person.

How much weight can a harness support?

Typically, 310 lbs. Up to 420 lbs. are available but system must be designed to accommodate the additional load.

Who’s responsible for enforcing safety requirements?

Employers are responsible for knowing and enforcing the various health and safety requirements set forth by OSHA and training their employees to recognize hazards and provide stop work authority in the event of an unidentified hazard.

Who is responsible for fall protection?

Everyone shares a responsibility for fall protection. Employers are required to provide a workplace free from hazards. Employees and employers also responsible for identifying appropriate measure to eliminate/mitigate fall hazards.

Where is fall protection required?

Employers are responsible to determine the locations where fall protection is required. All work environments involving elevation or altitude must execute a fall safety program.

When is fall protection required?

OSHA requires fall protection beginning at a height of 4′ in general industry. In construction, fall protection is required above 6′. Protection must also be provided, regardless of the distance, any time work must be completed above hazardous equipment or machinery.

What height is fall protection required?

OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of 4′ in general industry workplaces, 5′ in shipyards, 6′ in the construction industry, and 8′ in longshoring operations.

Is working at height training required?

Yes, anyone who works at height is required to undertake training. Different levels of training and qualification are required depending on the task and level of responsibility.  These include authorized competent and qualified persons.

What are the 4 methods of fall protection?

There are five generally accepted categories of fall protection: fall elimination, fall prevention, fall arrest and administrative controls.

What are the ABCs of Fall Arrest?

Anchors, Body harness, Connecting device(s), and a Descent/rescue plan.

What is a personal fall arrest system?

A combination of fall protection equipment, components, and procedures designed to work together to prevent or protect against a fall impact.

What is the difference between fall restraint and fall arrest?

Fall restraint works to prevent the user from falling, typically by restricting the users movement into the fall hazard area. Fall arrest systems will allow the user to fall and then arrest their fall. Restraint is preferred due to injury possibly still occurring during a fall arrest. Hard hats w/ chin straps are recommended anytime someone is working at height to prevent from coming off during a fall.

What is the 6-foot rule?

The 6ft rule only exists in the construction industry and is the height at which fall protection is required. The rule for general industry is 4′.

What is personal fall protection equipment?

Equipment (including all components) used to protect from falling or to safely arrest an employee’s fall if one occurs. Examples of Personal Fall Protection include full body harnesses, lanyards personal SRL, and connecting devices such as carabiners.

What is passive fall protection?

Does not require user to do or wear anything for the system to be effective as well as no special training being required. An example would be guardrail.

What are examples of active fall protection systems?

A full system would include Anchor, deceleration device, body harness, and means of rescue. Examples include Lifeline Systems, Rigid Rail Systems, and Single Point Anchor systems.

What is the best method of fall protection?

The best method of fall protection is, naturally, elimination of the hazard. Passive fall protection such as guardrails are also preferred. However, when elimination or passive prevention is not an option, opting for the an active fall arrest or restraint solution that best integrates into the standard work procedures is recommended.

If I fall, how will I get rescued?

Reliance on the Fire Dept./Emergency Services is not a rescue plan. Rescue plans often include special equipment to lower or raise victim to a safe level or access equip. ANSI Z359.2 requires that employers have a rescue plan in place. One of the biggest concerns with fall rescue is extended suspension in the harness after a fall. Suspension trauma straps are quick and affordable piece of equipment to increase safe suspension time after all fall

What type of safety harness should I use?

An ANSI and OSHA-compliant full body harness that’s suited to your specific task and is fitted/comfortable to the user based on their size and weight. Ensure that the harness you choose has the correct d-ring attachment points for the fall protection system being used.

What are the risks of working at height?

Anytime a person is working at height and is not fully protected from falling there is a risk for falling. These risks can be significantly increased in situations such as fragile roofs, uneven work surfaces, work in close proximity to unprotected edges and unprotected skylights. Other factors such as the work environment, health and physical conditions, complacency and other safety hazards can also increase the risk of a fall occurring.

Can you work at height alone?

Yes, provided you have a lone worker policy. Extra consideration should be given to means of rescue in a lone worker situation. A communication plan, self-rescue equipment and preferably eliminating the potential for a fall to occur should all be evaluated.

What is the difference between fall restraint and fall arrest?

The main difference between arrest and restraint is a fall. Restraint prevents a fall, arrest prevents an impact. Restraint is preferred, injury can still occur during an arrest. Hard hats w/ chin strap to prevent from coming off during a fall.

What is a fall protection system?

A system designed to protect personnel from falling or in the event of a fall, to stop them without causing severe injury.

How do I choose the right fall protection solution?

A careful evaluation of the job task, space constraints and many other criteria are part of the considerations in choosing a portable fall protection solution. Keep in mind that a lot of the portable fall protection solutions are customizable to fit specific applications. Contact your territory manager for more information.