Fall Arrest Systems

A "personal fall arrest system" is a type of PPE that works in conjunction with a fixed structure. It consists of a purpose-designed full-body harness tied off to a fall-limiting device, which in turn is connected to the structure. All connections use locking snap hooks or D-rings to prevent separation. The goal is to provide freedom of movement yet prevent or limit falls.

The fall-limiting device typically consists of an elastic shock-absorbing lanyard, or a retractable lanyard with a braking mechanism, to limit the fall and the shock to the worker's body. In all cases the lanyard must be designed for fall protection and must meet ANSI and/or OSHA standards for strength and function. Properly designed lanyards and anchorage points should support 5000 pounds of force per worker (1,4).

One type of fall protection for permanently installed vertical ladders involves connecting the body harness to a braking mechanism riding on a vertical cable installed alongside the ladder. The connection allows the person to travel up and down the ladder, but if the person falls the mechanism grabs the cable and instantly arrests the fall.

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