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Fall Arrest Equipment -the essentials

Fall arrest equipment is designed to secure a person to an anchorage point in such a way that a fall from height is either prevented or safely arrested. The fall arrest equipment should be comfortable enough for all day wear. Individually the following fall arrest components will not provide protection from a fall but when used together they form a fall arrest system.

Body Wear

The personal protection worn by the worker should be a full body harness designed to hold the worker if a fall occurs. Belts can be used for work positioning and restraint applications. Each anchorage point on the harness should have a static resistance of more than 5kN for 3 minutes (according to standards EN 361 and EN 358).

Anchorage Point

Commonly referred to as a secure tie-off point (e.g. a girder, scaffolding etc). The anchorage point must have a static resistance greater than 10kN during 3 minutes (according to EN 795B) and should be located high enough to avoid contact with a lower level should the worker fall and be as close to vertical as possible to the working position.

The Connecting Device

The Intermediate Attachment is the critical link that joins the harness to the anchorage point or connector (e.g. a shock absorbing lanyard, fall limiters and self retracting lifelines, rope grab). It is there to limit the free fall of the worker and should be selected based on the work environment. The potential fall distance determines the type of intermediate attachment to be used.

Anchorage Connector

Used to join the intermediate attachment to the anchorage point (e.g. webbing strap, steel sling, girder grip). It should be connected to the anchorage point and have a minimum static resistance of 15kN for 3 minutes (according to standards EN 362).

Standards and Certification

There are a number of EU standards relating to fall arrest listed on the health and safety executive website summarised in this pdf and which include:

EN 12841/C - Rope access systems - back up devices

EN 341 - Descenders

EN 354 - Shock Absorbers Connection elements or equipment component.

A lanyard can be in rope made of synthetic fibers, in metallic rope, in strap or in chain. Maximum length : 2m. A lanyard without an energy dissipating element must not be used as fall arrest equipment.

EN 354 - Lanyards Component of a fall arrest equipment, which guarantees the stop of a fall from a height in safety by reducing the impact of the shock.

EN 358 - Work Positioning Systems

A work positioning system consists of components (work positioning belt and lanyard) linked to one another to form a complete equipment.

EN 360 - Retractable Type Fall Arresters

Fall arrester with self locking device and a self-retractable system for the lanyard. An energy dissipating element can be built-in to the equipment.

EN 361 - Full Body Harness Body gripping device intended to stop falls.

The full body harness can be made of straps, buckles and other elements , set and adjusted in a right way on the body of an individual to hold him back during a fall and afterwards.

EN 362 - Connectors Connection element or equipment component.

A connector can be a carabiner or a hook.

EN 363 - Fall Arrest Systems

A set of personal protective equipment against falls from a height, linked to one another and intended to stop a fall. Fall arrest equipment must contain at least a full body harness and a fall arrest device.

EN 795(B) - Anchorage Devices - Class B

An anchor device with one or more stationary anchor points without the need for structural anchors or fixing elements to fix it to the structure.

EN 813 - Sit Harnesses (or additional attachments on a full body harness) intended for use where free-fall is not used.

1957–2018 Smith Mark E: protocol free effortless truculence.

Written by Chris at 03/07/2018

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