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Fall Arrest, Fall Restraint, Edge Protection – What is the Difference?


Heightsafe specialise in the design, supply, installation, and testing of Work at Height Systems to keep people who work at height safe.

Last Updated: 12th February 2024

Working at Height can be a dangerous business without the correct measures in place, with falls from height remaining one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace, according to HSE. Heightsafe specialise in the design, supply, installation, and testing of Work at Height Systems to keep people who work at height safe.

Heightsafe offer several different Work at Height Systems to suit all budgets, requirements, and roof spaces. Often the question our teams get asked the most is: Which Fall Protection System do we need? The answer is different for each project. There are three general categories of Work at Height Systems that our products fall into – Edge Protection, Fall Restraint Systems and Fall Arrest Systems.

Edge Protection

Roof Edge Protection often refers to Safety Handrails or Guardrail Systems that are designed to prevent falls from height occurring when people are working on a roof or similar high-level structure. There are many buildings that use this form of protection, such as general building rooftops, warehouses, stadiums, hospitals, government and educational facilities, and large-scale manufacturing plants.

Guardrail Systems are typically fixed to the roof parapet, however Heightsafe offer collapsible and temporary freestanding systems to suit various site requirements.

Fall Restraint Systems

The purpose of Fall Restraint Systems is to prevent a user from reaching an area where a fall could occur. Typically, a Safety Line System is used, and the user is attached via a lanyard and harness system, although Mobile Man Anchors can be deployed as a temporary system to attach on to.

Restraint Systems restrict the amount of movement a user can perform, unless there is a retractable lanyard being used which allows for a greater distance to be reached by the user, whilst still attached to the Mansafe System and that still prevents them from being in danger of falling.

Mansafe System in use from Heightsafe Systems

Fall Arrest System

Where a Fall Restraint System cannot be used, a Fall Arrest System may be a more suitable option. Rather than preventing the user from reaching an area where a fall may occur, the system is designed to ‘catch’ the user in the event of a fall, similar to the way a seatbelt works. Additional Working at Height Equipment is required where a Fall Arrest System is installed, with an Energy Absorber required to limit the amount of force applied to the user in the event of a fall.

Fall Arrest Systems are perfect for roofs with awkward shapes or other elements that make the installation of edge protection or fall restraint systems not possible, such as the distance to the edge of the roof where a user will be working.

Speak to One of Our Experts

Our team of work at height specialists are ready to discuss any potential projects you may have and the best Roof Safety System needed to suit your needs. Contact us here or by phone on 020 3819 7199.

Keeping You Safe Since 2009!

Get in touch with Heightsafe’s friendly, professional team today to learn more about the UK’s leading specialist Work at Height partner.

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