What are the 4 components of a fall arrest system?

Personal fall arrest systems are a key component of a workplace fall protection safety. Fall arrest systems are designed for when other types of fall protection are not practical, or feasable. In the event of a fall, personal fall arrest systems are meant to keep workers from hitting a lower floor level, or other objects.

Effective Fall Protection Training For Your Employees

Every personal fall arrest system is made up of four components:

  • A full body harness
  • Connecting device (lanyard or lifeline)
  • An anchorage point
  • A rescue plan

Full Body Harnesses

The body harness is worn by the person working at great heights. The harness distributes the forces of a fall evenly across the body and provides support to the person during and after a fall. It typically includes straps that go over the shoulders, around the torso, and around the legs. 

British Columbia’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation states that workers need to wear a full body harness when using a personal fall protection system for fall arrest. 

Connecting Device (Lanyard or Lifeline)

The connecting device is the link between the harness and the anchorage point. This allows the worker to move around while still being connected to the anchor point. In the event of a fall, the connecting device absorbs the energy, reducing the worker’s impact. This can be a lanyard, which is a short strap or rope, or a lifeline which is a longer rope or cable. 

Anchorage Point

This is the secure point of attachment for the fall arrest system. It must be capable of supporting the potential forces generated during a fall. Anchorage points can include things like a structural beam, a secure hook, or a specially designed anchor point. 

Rescue Plan

An adequate form of rescue is just as vital as wearing the harness itself. Rescue plans do not get the appropriate attention they need. An appropriate rescue plan serves as a critical safeguard against unforeseen emergencies, providing a structured response in the event of accidents or equipment failures. This plan outlines precise steps and protocols for rescuing workers stranded, or injured at elevated positions, ensuring their safe and swift extraction. By establishing clear roles, responsibilities, and procedures, a rescue plan bolsters worker safety and enhances overall site preparedness. It minimizes response times, reduces potential hazards, and instills confidence in the workforce, creating a secure environment conductive to efficient and successful operations.

When to use fall protection

Employers must ensure that a fall protection system is used when work is being done at a place where a fall from 3 meters (10 feet) or more may occur or where a fall from a height of fewer than 3 meters that can involve a risk of injury greater than the risk of injury from the impact on a flat surface. 

Industries that use fall protection

Personal fall protection systems are used in a variety of work environments and situations where there is a risk of falling from an elevated height. 

These industries include:

Construction sites

This is one of the most common environments for using personal fall protection systems. Construction workers often work on scaffolding, roofs, ladders, and other elevated surfaces. 

Maintenance and repair work

Whether it’s fixing a roof, painting a building, or conducting maintenance on machinery, workers often need to access elevated areas where there is a risk of falling. 

Utility work

Workers in utilities, such as electricity, telecommunications, and cable often need to work on elevated platforms or poles. 

Window washing

Window washers frequently work on the sides of tall buildings, requiring fall protection to prevent accidents. 

Logging and foresty

Workers in forestry and logging may work in trees or on elevated platforms and need fall protection to prevent falls. 

Warehouse and distribution centres

Employees working on high shelves or in elevated areas of warehouses need fall protection.

Agricultural work

Workers may need fall protection in agriculture when working in elevated areas such as silos or on tall equipment.

Rescue and emergency services

Professionals in these fields often work in elevated positions or conduct rescues from heights. 

Transportation and loading docks

Workers involved in loading and unloading cargo from trucks and ships often require fall protection.

Telecommunications and broadcasting

Technicians who install or repair antennas and broadcasting equipment often work at heights

Wind Energy

Workers in the wind energy industry are often at elevated positions on wind turbines and require fall protection. 

Bridge and structural maintenance

Workers who maintain bridges and other large structures need fall protection when working at heights. 


Roofers work at elevated positions and require fall protection to prevent accidents. 

It is important that fall protection measures are accessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the specific hazards and requirements of each job site. Employers are responsible for identifying potential fall hazards and ensuring that appropriate fall protection systems are in place and used by their workers. 

Clockwork Training’s Fall Protection Training is designed to be completed within one day. Based on Part 11 of BC regulations & CSA z259 & Z359 standards, this course involves in-depth theory training and hands-on exercises perfect for any worker at any skill level. 

To learn more about how we can help your BC business be safe, check out all of our course offerings, or contact us with any questions.