Fall Protection: What PPE is right for me?

Fall protection, fall arrest and fall restraint are common terms when selecting PPE.

When working at height, it is important to select the correct fall protection for a certain task and have an understanding why it is the best choice. A well-known system which is used to help select your PPE is the Hierarchy of Fall Protection.

When using the Hierarchy of Protection you must follow these three steps:

1. Eliminating the risk

How can I avoid working at height where feasible or use alternative equipment such as plant machinery in which there would be no risk of falling?

2. Guarding the hazard

In situations where you are working at height, how are you going to make sure you are not vulnerable to avoidable risks? In this situation, you are recommended to use a parapet or guardrail to lower the risk of a fall.

3. Protecting the worker

In situations where it is impossible to completely remove the risk of falling you will need to reduce it as much as possible. In these situations, you need to choose which fall protection system is right for the job. Take a look below at the different types of fall protection and their pros and cons.

Fall Restraint

Fall ProtectionA fall restraint system is used to avert the user from reaching the fall risk; the user will be able to fulfil their task but would not be able to reach the point in which they could fall. A fall restraint would be used if you were to work at the edge of a hazard. For example, working at the edge of a large drop such as a rooftop.

When testing fall protection it is recommended that you test it on an inanimate load before putting a person at risk. You do not want to be in a situation in which the lanyard is too long and doesn’t fulfil its purpose. Usually, the arrest would be positioned 2 metres away from the hazard and the lanyard would be 1.5 metres.

Fall Arrest

Fall ArrestUnlike the fall restraint, a fall arrest allows the user to move freely when completing a task. If the user does then fall they will hang from the drop and will have to be rescued or self-rescue. This form of PPE allows the user to work with little restrictions but may be in a situation in which they fall. The system will minimise but not completely eradicate injury.

You need to have a rescue plan in place when using the fall protection equipment.

3B Training provides short courses to give you further knowledge in fall prevention; click on the courses below to find out more:

Precautions You Should Take When Working At Height

Take a look at some safety steps you should take before working at heights here.

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