Employers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their workers. To avoid reaching a fall hazard there are several systems that could be used among which fall restraint and fall arrest are the most prominent ones. Both systems are quite similar but have some differences when it comes to real-life application.

What is a Fall Restraint System?

A fall restraint system helps workers avoid reaching a fall hazard, for example, the brink of a rooftop shade or edge of a building or an unprotected rooftop shade. This system aids you in avoiding getting too close to the fall hazard. The fall restraint system can consist of guardrails, static restraint lines, and walkway systems. It is meant to provide a high level of safety when working at heights and is considered a fall protection system. This is a long-term system, providing workers safe access to all areas of work including higher surfaces. Fall restraint equipment normally includes a lanyard of a fixed length connected to the worker safety harness and an appropriate anchorage point. Workers should be given proper training to decide the right lanyard length before they start their work.

Do lanyards expire?

The answer to this question is quite tricky. There are no set rules or standards that define when a lanyard should expire. Mostly it is recommended that a lanyard should be used for the time of maximum five years.  But the inspection as per OSHA and ANSI decides the condition of the lanyard based on its exposure and frequency of use.

What is a Fall Arrest System?

A fall arrest system prevents the worker from hitting the ground or reaching a fall hazard area in case of fall. It usually comprises of body harness, connector, a lanyard, deceleration device and anchorage. A fall arrest system must be properly worn, inspected and maintained.

What is a fall arrest harness?

A fall arrest harness is an equipment to hold your body to decelerate any fall by distributing the force over a large area of the body. It allows free movement to carry out work and provides safety to the worker in case of any potential falls.

How long does a fall arrest harness last?

An average lifespan of a fall arrest harness is around five years and in rare cases ten years as per the recommendation of the manufacturer. But it is recommended to discard the harness after five years.

The Difference

The main difference among the two systems is that the Fall Restraint system prevents a fall to occur; while a fall arrest system protects the worker in case the fall occurs. In the former system, the worker is restrained from reaching a fall hazard while the latter decelerates the worker to a safe stop and prevent serious injury.  
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