Six Features to Look for When Selecting Fall Arrest Systems

What are the fall arrest systems?

It is extremely important for the companies to provide necessary precautions to the workers when they are working in heights or in the places where there are chances of accidents. Fall arrest systems are used by a large number of workers who work at large heights to restrain movements and provide protection from a fall.

Essential Components of a Fall Arrest System:

Here is a quick reference guide of the main features of that should be there in any fall arrest system.
Fall Arrest Systems
  • Buckles for quick connection: The fall arrest systems should have an appropriately adjustable harness that is also properly accessible. Buckles which can be quickly connected, like the clip of seatbelts, are better safety alternatives than the standard pass-through buckles which have been used for over decades. The user of such harnesses can clasp and unclasp at adjustment points which make them more convenient. The entire structure works as a support system to let the straps from getting loosened once these are hung at a suitable length.
  • Body wears: A body component or a body gear is an integral part of all fall arrest systems.  It is the protective personal wear worn by a worker and should cover the full body. While selecting the body gear, remember that it should be adequate for the job and the work environment. A full body harness consists of a "centre back fall arrest attachment" and D rings, both frontal and side, for suspension and prevention of fall.
  • Padding: Fall arrest systems are padded to provide maximum comfort to the user. Earlier, the harness systems used to rigid, making them cumbersome to attach and wear. Present day harness makers have incorporated padding in the pieces of equipment to ease the discomfort that arises from wearing web straps. Besides providing comfort, it provides extra protection in case the worker falls. Padding helps to modify the shape of the harness, thus making it easy to wear and can be replaced and washed.
  • Suspension and anchorage: These are essential for industries such as window washing and painting. Suspension features help to lower a worker and support him vertically, thus creating a hands-free work environment. Suspension systems vary depending on the anchorage and anchorage connectors. Anchorages are support structures consisting of tie-off points such as scaffolding, beam and lifeline. The anchorages must be strong enough to support 22 kN per worker. It should be elevated to a sufficient height so that the worker will not come into contact with a lower level in case a fall occurs.
  • Evacuation system in case of an emergency: Fall-arrest systems used in confined areas like tanks and manholes should have an evacuation or rescue system for emergency purposes. The support structure should be an anchorage while the anchorage connector should be a tripod. The connecting device should be a self-retracting lifeline or a fall-limiter in case the potential distance for fall is calculated at 5.6 metres. One can also use a vertical lifeline with rope grabbing support.
  • Supporting webbing features: Webbing is a collective term for the ropes and straps used in fall arrest systems. Synthetic fabric should be used to make such ropes. Nowadays for electricians and welders, paint resistant and liquid-resistant webbing are manufactured. The more stretchable the webbing, the more is the comfort and scope of movement.

The above mentioned safety features are essential in every fall arrest systems, be it rope access systems, rescue systems or restraint systems. One should always read the instructions on the product carefully before using the equipment. The pro tip is to be aware of the federal as well as state regulations regarding such cases before selecting harness systems.

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