Fall Arrest Systems: Your Backup Plan When Working At Heights

Man Attached to Fall Arrest System

This is a system where a worker uses a harness and is secured onto an immovable object, via a proper rope. Some examples of when fall arrest systems are used include working on the roof of a house, climbing up a utility pole, and walking on scaffolding around a building being constructed.

Such safety systems are complicated and require proper equipment rather than makeshift assemblies. Do not risk your safety by using such a system based purely on what you've read — seek out training provided by a professional.

Basic things to know

  • The system must be set up so that the worker will not hit a surface if he were to fall.
  • The system must provide some give in the mechanism, otherwise a lot of force will need to be absorbed by the body, which can lead to injury even though there is no direct contact with the ground.
  • If any damage is evident the equipment, must be replaced immediately.
  • If the equipment has been subjected to a fall, it must be replaced immediately.
  • Inspect equipment daily.
  • Do not attach such a system to anything that moves or that may come loose.

Necessary components include:

  • An attachment location.
  • A body harness.
  • A vertical lifeline, also called a lanyard.
  • Webbing.
  • A horizontal lifeline.
  • Anchorages.
  • Connectors.

Again, a professional should be consulted to train workers how to use this type of tool. Do NOT attempt this without proper training.

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