Fall Restraint, Fall Arrest & Fall Prevention

The Differences Between Fall Protection Systems

Fall Restraint, Fall Arrest & Fall Prevention have very different approaches and implications when applied to fall protection systems. Should a fall incident occur, a fall arrest system protects the worker from hitting the surface below by stopping the fall. Fall restraint prevents a worker from accessing the potential hazard so that a fall will not happen. On the other hand, fall prevention removes the risk of falls by providing a barrier or fence between a worker and the fall hazard.


fall arrrest system
Fall Arrest
Fall arrest has the highest risk for injury as it does not prevent the worker from falling. Fall arrest equipment is used to stop the fall of a worker in the event of a fall occurring. A rescue plan and personal fall arrest equipment such as full body harness, shock absorbing lanyard or retracting lanyard must be used in a fall arrest work application.
fall restraint system
Fall Restraint
Fall restraint is typically used to prevent a worker from ever reaching the point of hazard. A restricted line/travel/lanyard is attached to an anchor with full body harness to prevent a worker traveling to the fall edge. Unfortunately, there are many falls that occur which are caused by workers disconnecting the system to reach further areas due to a lack of sufficient mobility while attempting to perform their assigned task.

Fall Prevention

In accordance to the Hierarchy of Control, fall prevention is the highest form of fall protection. It prevents the worker from falling by providing a barrier between them and the fall hazard. Guardrail systems are an example of fall prevention by preventing the worker from falling.

In order for these systems to properly protect workers, training is an important part as it allows workers to have an in-depth understanding of how to use the equipment, as well as being better prepared to deal with a fall incident if it occurs.

Each fall protection system has its benefits and uses for a variety of different industrial and work applications. When selecting these systems, it’s important to consider who will be using the system, the type of work that needs to be accomplished at the site, and how many people will be involved with different jobs at heights. It is important to make a full assessment of every individual situation to determine which fall protection system is the most suitable.

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