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How a Fall Arrest System could save your life


Statistically, there are more deaths from Working at Height than any other accident in the workplace. In 2019/20, according to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), 111 workers have died whilst doing their job. The highest cause of death is ‘Falls from a height’, standing at 29 fatalities. Whilst this figure is a decrease from 2018/19, which recorded 40 deaths caused by falls from height, it is still a much higher number than it should be. One of the main contributing factors to these accidents taking place is a lack of regulatory standard safety equipment. One piece of equipment that is designed to save someone’s life when a fall happens is a Fall Arrest System.

HSE Statistics

Source: HSE

 

What is a Fall Arrest System?

Unlike a Fall Restraint System, a Fall Arrest System is designed to protect a worker once they have fallen off a building. Its design consists of a Connecting Device that links to the Anchorage, also known as a Safety Line. The other side of the Connecting Device is attached to the harness equipped on the subject’s torso, meaning if they fall off the edge of a roof, the harness will stop them from falling any further. This piece of equipment could be vital to preventing injury or worse, and a lot of buildings lack an up to date Fall Arrest System. These systems tend to be preferred when there is a fragile surface, narrow ledge, or unusual building/roof shape on-site, meaning there is limited space for movement and more risk of a fall.

 

The main difference between Fall Arrest and Fall Restraint

The difference between the two is within their titles. As mentioned above, a Fall Arrest System is something that occurs after a person has begun to free fall. Once they have fallen off a building, an ‘arrest’ takes place via the harness that is attached to them, preventing the worker from falling any further.

With a Fall Restraint system, the worker is prevented from falling completely. They are attached to a Fixed Anchor, and it consists of a body holding device that acts as a leash, preventing the worker from reaching the edge of the building or roof in the first place. This is generally preferred for normal shaped structures with enough walking space, however, they are not recommended for unusual working areas with limited room that make a fall more likely. That is when a Fall Arrest system should be used.

 

The Process of Installing a Fall Arrest System

If your building has areas of the structure where a Fall Arrest System might be necessary, you must have a solution installed as soon as possible. The best way to begin this process is by contacting a leading specialist within Working at Height systems, such as Heightsafe. The process begins with an enquiry, following your enquiry, you will receive a quote. Once you are happy with the quote and the job is commissioned, a thorough Risk Assessment will be carried out to make sure all persons involved in the project are protected and safe. Once the Risk Assessment has been completed, a date will be agreed for work will begin.

The first step of the installation process is making sure that a working Safety Line is in place. If there is one already installed, Heightsafe can Survey and Test this system to make sure it meets sufficient standards. If your building does not have a Safety Line, Heightsafe can install one for your building. Depending on the structure and its surroundings, the System will either be an Overhead Fall Arrest Track, or it will be a Steel Roof Safety Line that is attached to Anchors installed within the roof. Once the Safety Line has been tested, an appropriate fixed body length harness will then be applied, and this will be used whenever the building owner needs to work from height.

If you need assistance with installing a Fall Arrest System, or any other type of Fall Protection Solutions, Contact Us now.

 

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