Continued Blog: Hierarchy of Fall Protection – Fall Restraint Systems

April 7, 2019, 8:58 am | by Ray Nardo

Roof Inspection Fall Restraint Systems FallProofIn this blog we will continue to discuss the hierarchy of fall protection and another way for employers to protect their workers. As previously noted, each fall risk situation should be analyzed on a case by case basis so it is important to understand the work being performed, access to the work area, and the frequency of the work. Here, we will discuss the 3rd solution on the hierarchy of fall protection pyramid- Fall Restraint Systems also known as Travel Restraint Systems.  Sometimes, Passive Fall Protection Systems- like guardrail- which was discussed in last month’s blog- is not an option and is why an employer moves to the next option on the hierarchy- a Fall Restraint System.

Fall Restraint Systems

Fall Restraint Systems use certain fall protection systems and equipment that restrain or prevent the worker from reaching the fall hazard. These systems are comprised of an anchorage/anchorage connector (single point anchor, horizontal lifeline, beam strap), either a body belt or harness, and a connecting device such as a self-retracting lifeline or lanyard.  The anchorage and the equipment are set up to restrain the worker from the fall hazard.

How They Work

Mobile Rooftop Fall Restraint SystemsFor example, the edge of the roof is 8 feet away. A Fall Restraint System could consist of a single point anchor, a harness and 6-foot lanyard. In this scenario, the anchorage and the equipment restrain the worker from falling. Also a Horizontal Cable Lifeline can be installed on the roof. Again, a lanyard or self-retracting lifeline that does not allow the worker to reach the hazard can be used to restrain the fall. Fall Restraint Systems are also known as Travel Restraint Systems because the systems allow the worker to have some movement or travel in the work area to accomplish the job- reference picture.

Fall Restraint Systems should be designed with fall arrest capabilities-which will be discussed in next month’s blog- when a fall is possible.  Although the Fall Restraint System restrains the worker from one hazard another hazard could be potential reached. Therefore, the equipment and the system should consider fall arrest options to protect the worker in case of a fall.

Understanding The Work Area

Working Surface Fall Restraint Systems

This is why it is important to understand the work, access to the work area, how the work will be performed, and how often the work will be done.  Fall Restraint Systems are 3rd on the hierarchy because if the hazard cannot be eliminated by removing the fall risk or using a Fall Prevention System is to restrain the worker from reaching the fall hazard. In any fall risk situation, the primary goal is to prevent the worker from falling. This is the best way to ensure worker safety and ultimately their lives.

In most cases with Fall Restraint Systems workers avoid falling by being restrained from the hazard eliminating suspension trauma and the need for a rescue plan which are the major concerns when someone falls. Ideally, in the world of Fall Protection, the worker can do the work without the potential of a fall.  Again, this is why it is important to have a conversation with everybody involved with the work to come up with the best solution. FallProof Systems can help in determining if a Fall Restraint System is the best way to protect your workers.

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