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The Difference Between Fall Prevention, Fall Restraint and Fall Protection


If you are responsible for personnel Working at Height, or are a specifier for Work at Height equipment, you will often hear Fall Prevention, Fall Restraint and Fall Protection used interchangeably.

It is common for the meaning of these terms to be misunderstood, so Heightsafe’s specialists have put together a short, informative guide on the difference between each of the widely used industry terms.

Fall Prevention

As the name would suggest, systems of this kind will prevent a fall from height through removing fall risks by restricting personnel access to hazardous areas i.e. the edge of the roof.

Specified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s hierarchy of control for Working at Height, Fall Prevention systems are the preferred method of protection for personnel due their passive nature. No action is required by personnel to be protected, so for those with minimal competence can safely Work at Height.

Fall Prevention Systems Include


Fall Restraint

Similar to Fall Prevention systems, Fall Restraint systems restrict movement of personnel, limiting their access to fall zones and hazardous roof spaces.

Specified as a secondary measure of protection by the HSE’s hierarchy of control for Working at Height, Fall Restraint systems have an active nature. Actions are required by personnel to be protected and therefore it is imperative personnel using these systems have training to be competent, ensuring that they are used correctly.

Fall Restraint Systems Include


Fall Protection

Also known as Fall Arrest, Fall Protection systems will not prevent personnel from falling from height, instead these systems arrest the fall once it has occurred i.e. reduces the length of the fall.
Due to the fall risks associated with these systems are the least favourable as set out in the HSE’s hierarchy of control for Working at Height, however deemed as a reasonable measure of protection if a Fall Prevention or Fall Restraint system are not viable.

Fall Protection Systems Include


Compliance Inspections

Annual compliance inspections by a competent specialist are required for all Fall Protection, Fall Prevention and Fall Restraint systems to ensure that they are suitable for purpose and are in line with standards set out by Work at Height regulations. If your systems are not visibly tagged and dated with compliance, they should be put out of commission until a valid certificate is issued. Systems should also be tested following extreme weather conditions, hot or cold.

Related Products and Services


Guardrails, Handrails and Edge Protection


Industry leading Guardrails and Handrails provide a collective measure of protection for multiple personnel who Work at Height.

Personal Fall Protection Safety Lines


Offering a personal measure of protection, specialist systems protect users in both Fall Arrest and Fall Restraint situations.

Protective Skylight Covers


Specialist Skylight Fall Protection protects personnel, tools and debris from falling through fragile surfaces.

Compliance Testing Services


Expert compliance testing and maintenance services for Work at Height, Roof Access, Façade Access and Lightning Protection systems.

Keeping Your Personnel Safe at Height!

Get in touch with Heightsafe’s friendly, professional team today for free, no obligation advice on your Work at Height requirements.

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