Fall Restraint vs Fall Arrest: What’s the Difference?

Falls from heights can result in serious injuries, no matter the elevation. Fall protection equipment and proper planning, training, and supervision are critical to reducing the risk of falling in the workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation requires all workers to use fall protection systems if they are working at heights of 3 meters (10 feet) or more or where a fall from a shorter height could result in serious injury. WorkSafeBC’s Fall Protection Hierarchy highlights what methods of fall protection must be used when controlling fall hazards. Fall restraint and fall arrest systems are on the fall protection hierarchy, but what is the difference?

Fall Restraint

Fall restraint systems are designed to prevent workers from falling in two ways: travel restriction and work positioning. To restrict travel, workers are attached to a fixed-length line that prevents them from getting too close to an opening or edge. In work positioning, a body harness is attached to an anchor point by a lanyard or lifeline that restricts the worker’s movement to a safe working area. These systems ensure that workers cannot fall by keeping them from reaching the edge of a fall hazard. Fall restraint systems are effective at any distance, as they do not allow the worker to reach any unprotected sides or edges.

Fall Arrest

Fall arrest systems are a crucial component of any workplace where employees work at heights, as they are essential in preventing severe injuries and fatalities. These systems consist of a full-body harness, a connector, and an anchorage point, which work together to provide workers with protection and peace of mind. In the event of a fall, fall arrest systems are designed to stop the fall, reducing the risk of injury. However, it is important to note that these systems must be correctly installed and maintained to ensure their effectiveness. Employers have a responsibility to provide their workers with a safe working environment, and fall arrest systems play a critical role in fulfilling that obligation.

The difference between fall arrest and fall restraint systems

Fall restraint systems are designed to prevent a fall from occurring in the first place. These systems typically include an anchorage point, a harness, and a lanyard or lifeline configured to limit the worker’s movement and keep them from reaching a fall hazard.

In contrast, fall arrest systems are designed to stop a fall in progress and limit the impact forces on the body. These systems typically include an anchorage point, a harness, a lanyard or lifeline, and a shock absorber.

Fall Protection Safety Training at Clockwork Training

Choosing the right fall protection system is crucial for ensuring worker safety and preventing accidents. Improper selection or use of these systems can result in serious injuries or even fatalities in case of a fall. Employers should provide adequate training and education to their workers on the proper use and selection of fall protection systems. To this end, Clockwork Training offers Fall Protection classes that are specifically designed to ensure that workers know how to use fall protection equipment safely. Moreover, Clockwork Training provides on-site training sessions, and their team can come to your business anywhere in British Columbia to train your team.