What are the 2 types of fall protection used in construction?

The construction industry contains many potential workplace dangers, including falls, which are among the top ten OSHA infractions and are responsible for roughly one-third of all fatalities on construction sites. Employers are responsible for providing fall protection, and employees are required to use the offered protection in a safe manner to avoid unforeseen events. Fall protection must begin at four feet in general industries, five feet on shipyards, six feet for construction, and eight feet at longshoring worksites. In the construction sector, there are two main types of fall protection available depending on the need:

  1. Passive fall protection does not necessitate the use of personal protective equipment or worker participation. Guardrails, netting, and handrails are examples of passive systems. Passive systems are best suited for working conditions where engineering controls cannot eliminate fall dangers.
  2. Active fall protection systems are interactive and demand the use of specialised equipment as well as worker involvement. Active systems are further divided into two types fall/travel restraint and fall arrest systems. Travel restraint systems are built to assist the worker to reach far enough on an unsecured edge to do the task but not far enough to tumble over the edge. Whereas fall arrest systems are a realistic solution when passive or travel restraint systems cannot be employed to keep workers from falling. A fall arrest system must stop a falling worker from hitting the ground or any object or level below the job.

When it comes to developing effective fall protection procedures and controls, it’s important to start with the hierarchy of controls that can help with this process. Remove as much of the risk of a fall as possible, but if that is not practicable, establish a fall protection strategy for the safety of employees working at heights. There are four different options available to avoid or prevent workers from falling:

Fall Arrest:

This is a type of fall protection that prevents someone from falling. Fall arrest systems are required in workplaces where employees operate at a height. Only when a fall occurs does the fall arrest mechanism come to the rescue. An anchor point, body harness, and connector (such as a lanyard or self-retracting lifeline) are all part of fall arrest equipment.


The positioning system holds workers in place and keeps them intact, allowing the employee to work with both hands freely. This system does not provide fall-arrest capabilities, but it does prevent falls from occurring.


A retrieval system, often known as a rescue plan, is a system that is activated once a fall occurs. This would mostly cover the post-fall scenario, in which the system focuses on how to rescue the workers who have fallen. OSHA also requires a fall rescue plan to be in place.


Suspension systems can lower and support workers while leaving their hands free to complete tasks. Suspension is used for workers who undertake things like painting and window washing.

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