Although there is a considerable similarity between fall arrest and fall restraint systems when it comes to safety, however, they have an important distinction in terms of their role. Any misunderstanding or using them interchangeably could be intimidating, says Jason Wible Frenchcreek. This is why having a clear idea about their difference is vital.
What Exactly Is a Fall Arrest System?
Consisting of one or an array of anchor points, a safety harness and a safety lanyard, a fall arrest system is designed to stop or ‘arrest’ an employee from hitting the lower base in the event of a fall. The system offers absolutely freeness to move around the work site to perform the job without having to worry about a potential fall.
Put simply, while ascending or descending a ladder, the chance of falling is always there. However, just at the threshold of a fall occurring, having a fall arrest system in place will work to arrest the wearer and stop him from falling.
What Exactly Is a Fall Restraint System?
Although equipped with similar components, a fall restraint system is intended to keep workers reaching close to the fall hazard area, causing a fall. Visualize a chain that restricts workers to step into the unsafe zone. Again, this will boost workers’ confidence and let them work without the thought of falling or getting injured since their movement is restricted within the safe zone.
Fall restraint safety mechanisms also consist of an anchor point, lanyard, and safety harness like a fall arrest system. Using these safety systems is ideal for working on wide-open platforms of rooftops insecure rooftop hatch, skylight, or edge of the roof.
Choosing Fall Arrest or Fall Restraint – Which is Ideal?
According to Jason Wible Frenchcreek, when it comes to choosing among the two or which is a suitable option or safer choice, it depends entirely on the landscape of performing the job.
A fall arrest system is ideal and must be used when other safety methods or fall protective equipment like guardrails, safety net, or elevated platform are not available or using them is not possible. For example, for jobs like utility powerline worker, cell tower technician, window washer, painter of high-rises, on ladders, etc. Noteworthy, using a fall-arrest system is the only choice for the entertainment industry such as rock climbing, sky jumping, etc.
On the other hand, using fall resistant system is the best choice for working on a roof with a skylight and unsecured edge. If the conditions are favorable, working with a fall restraint system is ideal.
No matter, whichever safety measures are adopted, falls cause injury and are unpredictable. Falls may happen due to tripping, skipping, twisting, and also jumping. If a fall arrest system is used, having a proper rescue plan is vital to avoid suspension trauma. Similarly, anchor points should be chosen with due care. If a worker chooses a semi-finished fall as an anchor point, the force of a falling is likely to break down the wall over the worker. This is why, proper training is also imperative.