Fall Arrest/Fall restraint systems allow for safe access to areas which need to be accessed for maintenance etc, where a significant fall can occur. The individual involved puts on a harness and lanyard which is then connected to a cable system or anchor point, depending on the span of the area which needs to be accessed. (A cable system is needed if there is a large span which needs to be accessed. Whereas an anchor point may be sufficient if this is restricted to a small area).
The type of harness and lanyards required differ depending on the situation involved. This is why detailed designs by specialists are so important. There is no point in being attached to a harness and lanyard if they do not suit the situation involved, thus defeating their purpose.
Harnesses can differ in that they can be either a 1 point or 2 point harness. A 1 point harness is attached at the back. Whereas a 2 point harness can be connected at both the back and the front, which is useful when using adjustable lanyards as the adjusting can be carried out at the front of your torso.
There are different variations of landyards which are chosen depending on the circumstances:
A retractable lanyard works in the same way as a car seat belt. While it can extend to a specified distance if extended slowly, where a fall would occur the lanyard would lock up, thus resulting in fall arrest.
Adjustable lanyards can be altered in advance to a required length to suit the situation.
Lanyards can also differ by how the shock absorber works with it in the case of a fall. Whereas other lanyards have a shock absorber attached in a specific location, a bungee lanyard, or manyard as it can be referred to, has a shock absorber integrated into its entire length.
A twin tailed lanyard is one which has two points for attachment, which allows the user to move around while at the same time being connected at all times. It is only when the second connection is attached on that the first connection is released.
Fall Arrest v Fall Restraint
Fall Restraint allows you to get to the edge of a building whereas…
Fall Arrest ensures that you do not hit the ground should a fall occur.
Obviously Fall Restraint will always be the preferred option of the two, but this is not always possible due to the nature of the building involved. Typically a Fall Arrest situation would occur where there is only a narrow walkway where access is required, which would ensure that the individual involved has no option but to be at the buildings edge. The lanyard would then allow that person to fall over the edge before Fall Arrest occurs.
Where access will be required on a regular basis, a guardrail system should instead be installed.
If you are interested in learning more about the correct procedures when it comes to your PFPE, you may be interested in our training courses: