Fall arrest and fall restraint 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.
Fall Arrest System
Fall arrest is used whenever a worker needs to access multiple locations on site. In some circumstances, a worker may need to reach some potentially dangerous area to perform a task, and it is crucial for them to have fall arrest protection in the event that they experience a fall. A full body harness with a shock absorbing lanyard or retractable lifeline must be used for arresting a fall.
Fall Restraint System
On the other hand, fall restraint is typically used to prevent a worker from ever reaching a specific fall hazard. A restricted line/travel/lanyard is attached to an anchor with full body harness to enable a worker to access an edge in such a way that they cannot fall. Unfortunately there are many falls 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.
In order for the system to properly protect workers, training is 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.
Both fall arrest and fall restraint systems have their benefits 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.