Fall Arrest, Fall Restraint, and Work Positioning; A Quick Guide
Found yourself wondering what the difference is between fall arrest, fall restraint and work positioning is? After all the equipment looks so similar and phrases seem to be used almost interchangeably. However, we’re here to tell you that isn’t the case.
What is Fall Arrest?
Fall arrest systems are systems used to stop the falling user in the event of a fall from height. This is a requirement whenever there is a risk for a worker to fall from an elevated position at any height. Fall arrest equipment is used in situations where the potential to fall cannot be avoided. The equipment used will both arrest the fall and absorb some energy from the fall. It consists of a body harness, anchorage, and connector. The means of connection may include a lanyard; preferably one that absorbs the shock of a possible fall and a deceleration device.
What is Fall restraint?
Fall restraint equipment is used to prevent access to the hazard, and as such, not being able to approach the fall in the first place. The length of the lanyard is specifically selected to prevent the user from being able to reach a fall. A Fall restraint system usually consists of a fixed-length lanyard connected to a suitable anchorage point at one end and the harnessed user at the other.
What’s the difference?
The main difference between these two systems is that fall restraint equipment stops someone from accessing a fall from height hazard completely with the use of a tether system, while fall arrest systems allow the user to work at height with a safety system that will arrest the fall and minimise injury through shock absorbing devices while still supporting the user.
Now that we’ve hashed out the differences between fall arrest and fall restraint let’s move on to work positioning.
Positioning systems, often referred to as work-positioning equipment allows the user to sit back in their harness while performing their work. Without the need for them to stabilise themselves, it allows them to have both their hands free to carry out their tasks. This equipment is not designed as a fall arrest system and must have a backup safety line with a fall arrester in place.
The difference between fall arrest and fall restraint systems is quite significant. While both systems are designed to keep users safe and reduce fatalities when undertaking work at heights every situation will need to be individually assessed to determine which system is the best solution for your specific working at height tasks. If you need help or advice on which option to choose contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help. If you already know which system is right for your project but need the equipment to get the job done safely QAB Systems can provide you with the PPE from leading brands such as 3M, Lyon, Petzl, Singing Rock and so many more.