An Introduction to Fall Protection

Thursday, 3 October 2019

EU law states that workers must be protected against falling when their workplace exposes them to a fall of 3 metres or more. That may not seem that high, but its worth considering that in 2018/19, more workers were killed in the UK from falling from a height than from any other hazard. The law surrounding fall safety can be a bit of a minefield, but ultimately it is the employer's responsibility to keep their workforce safe at work.

One way to prevent injuries in falls from height is through fall protection equipment. To help you get to grips with fall protection equipment and to help you understand the law surrounding it, we've created this short Introduction to Fall Protection Guide.

Why People Fall and Fall Protection Equipment

Depending on where you work, there will be different threats that will increase your risk of falling. This includes things such as losing balance, losing grip, tripping, or things that aren't your fault such as a surface giving way or a support moving away from you. If you're an employer, it's down to you to look after your workforce and ensure that the relevant fall protection equipment is provided.

This isn't just the harnesses that most people imaging when they think of falls. It actually constitutes of a far greater list, which includes:

  • Covers
  • Fences
  • Guardrails
  • Safety Nets
  • Anchorage Points
  • Body Harnesses
  • Lanyards
  • Lifelines
  • Snap Hooks

Which Type of Fall Protection Equipment Should I Buy?

If this is the first time you've purchased fall safety equipment, then it is the law that you and the person using the equipment have been trained in fall safety. There are three types of fall protection that we sell here at WorkWear.co.uk; Work Restraint, Work Positioning and Fall Arrest. It's important that you get it right, so as noted above, if you are unsure of what's best for you, consult a trained professional.

Work Restraint

Work Restraint is a system whereby a worker is prevented from reaching a fall hazard, either by rope, rails, scaffolding and more. This system is NOT designed to prevent a fall.

  • Rooftop work
  • Powered access equipment
  • Fall protection on vehicles
  • Facilities management
  • And more...

Work Positioning

Work Positioning is a fall protection system whereby a worker is suspended in a work position in order to carry out a job. This is usually at height, and anyone who works at this height MUST have adequate training. These are usually used in conjunction with a fall arrest system.

  • Telecom
  • Utilities
  • Industrial rope access
  • Confined space
  • And more...

Fall Arrest

A Fall Arrest system will not stop you from falling. It is instead a system that ensures a fall is carried out in a safe and controlled manner. This enables a worker to carry out their job, while a body harness is connected to a suitable shock absorbing system.

This will not prevent free fall. You will still fall, however be caught by a fall arrest block, rope, a lanyard and your harness. Training MUST be provided, and an escape plan MUST be in place before an accident takes place.

  • Scaffolding
  • Wind energy
  • Tower crane erection
  • Tower crane maintenance
  • Pallet racking
  • More...
A Work Restraint System A Work Positioning System A Fall Arrest System
A worker restrained from falling by a Work Restraint System Two window cleaners prevented from falling by a Work Positioning System A worker wearing a Fall Arrest System that will catch him if he falls

What's the Relevant Regulation

Before purchase it's important to know what the different regulations are. How a piece of equipment performed to each standard signifies what the equipment is suitable for. Regulation is generally in separated into five different corners, which are:

Harnesses

  • EN 1497: Specifies the requirements, test methods, marking and information supplied by the manufacturer for rescue harnesses
  • EN 361: States that the harness has passed a free fall test with a 100kg fake human model
  • EN 358: Confirms that a positioning belt and lanyard has held a load for over 3 minutes
  • EN 813: Specifies the requirements, test methods, marking and information supplied by the manufacturer for sit harnesses

Arrest Block

  • EN 360: Confirms the abilities of fall arrest equipment, self-locking devices and self-retractable systems.

Lanyards

  • EN 354: Indicates that the lanyard withstood a free fall test without releasing a load
  • EN 355: Confirms that a lanyard's shock absorber can withstand shock

Connectors / Rope / Rope Grabs

  • EN 362: Shows that connectors have passed a strength test
  • EN 353: Shows the test methods for travelling devices incorporated into systems made up of a line to a structure
  • EN 1891: Confirms that low stretch kernmental ropes can withstand the forces generated by a fall

Anchorage Devices

  • EN 795: Ensures that anchorage devices can be used as part of a fall protection system and that they have withstood the maximum dynamic force generated in a fall

Where Can I Buy Fall Protection Equipment?

Here at Workwear.co.uk, we have all of the fall safety equipment required for a safe time at work. Ranging from Safety Harnesses to Full Fall Protection Kits, all of our equipment is properly certified and designed by experts. Find the kit for you below:

Ensure You Know Your Fall Protection

Before you go ahead with any of this, it's important that you and your team know exactly what you're talking about. If you don't know, please consult an expert. It is the law that for anyone who uses fall safety equipment must be trained by professionals. If you're ready to go, head over to our Fall Protection page to view our full range!

If you have any comment or anything to add, then we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below!