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The selection of the safest fall arrest or height access system depends of the site conditions. A competent person establishes a risk assessment and selects the most appropriate fall protection system or height access system for working safely at height.
The Health and Safety manager or building owner must always minimize the risks and priorize the safest option for the people at risks. National health and safety regulation have therefore a fall protection hierarchy. The ANZI standard defines for example:
Fall Protection covers all methods of protecting workers from falling while working at height, including fall restraint and fall fall arrest. Fall restraint systems are designed with specific-length lanyards to prevent a worker’s center of gravity from reaching a fall hazard while at height. Fall Arrest specifically describes systems that stop falls from height when they are happening.
For a fall arrest system, the height of fall must be less than the available clearance so that the person falling does not hit an obstacle during the fall. The height of fall is the sum of the terms given below:
The safety equation expressed in meters and calculated from life line axis is:
For areas with limited fall clearance it is recommended to install the anchoring point in factor 0 (overhead).
The SafeAccess rail is particularly well suited when clearance is low as the deflection of the anchoring device is minimized; or tu crimp at both side of each intermediate anchor of a Securope life line max deflection is < 0.6 m.
A retractable fall arrest or SRL can be used in horizontal / ground configuration only if it has been tested and certified for this application. Two aspects are important:
- Tested in fall factor 0. The retractable is placed at floor level compared to the user.
- Tested against sharp edges. The retractable webbing or cable must be tested on edges of R>0,5mm for Europe and R>0,13mm for North America.
When using a SRL horizontally, the end user needs minimum 400cm fall clearance. If the SRL has no clear documentation for horizontal use, then the operator should only use it for overhead configuration.
The swing fall hazard is created by the pendulum effect, which can swing a fallen worker into a nearby surface, such as a wall or protruding beam. In addition to calculating the total fall clearance distance before beginning work on an elevated level, it is important to evaluate the swing fall hazard at the edges where a worker might fall. A worker who falls while connected to an anchor (unless it is directly overhead) will swing back and forth like a pendulum. Workers can be seriously injured if they strike objects during a swing fall. Installing the anchorage point directly above the work area (i.e., connected to an overhead attachment point with sufficient strength) will help prevent injury. A pendulum fall may lead to a higher shock on the body when the fall is stopped
The fall factor (indicated as f) is defined as a ratio: f = length of fall (H) / working length of rope (L). The standard range for the fall factor is from f = 0 up to f = 2. A higher fall factor may not occur when a person is using a rope secured to a fixed anchor point
To know the periodicity and obligations related to inspection and maintenance, the end client must refer to European regulations and to the manufacturer user manual. The fall arrest equipment inspection (lifeline & PPE) must be done by a competent person at least once a year, or after fall.
For height access equipment as per EN1808:2015, the equipment must be inspected at least once a year, or at a higher frequency if required by a national law. Temporary suspended platform must be inspected on site at each rigging.
The competent person must document the inspection as per manufacturers requirement and a history track must be kept.
To know the recommended lifetime of height safety equipment, the end client must refer to the manufacturers user manual. In addition a competent person inspects each year that the material can be used further. PPE equipment must be removed after the stop of a fall.
Lifelines and anchor points must be inspected by a certified height safety equipment inspector after a fall. The inspector will decide in accordance with Fallprotec guidelines which components must be changed.
The lifetime depends of the type of material and of the environment in which they are used.
Site conditions like dust, corrosive agents, extreme temperatures, exposure to UV's etc. can impact the lifetime of the equipment.
The PPE's sold by Fallprotec (textile products) have for example a standard lifetime of 10 years. When not in use, products should be stored in cabinet that is clean, dry and free of exposure to fumes or corrosive elements.
The fall arrest anchor points and lifelines of Fallprotec have a recommended lifetime of 20 years.
To make suspended rope access on an anchor point, the end user must ensure that:
Orthostatic Intolerance – also known as Suspension Trauma – can occur very rapidly. Health organizations around the world request rescue to happen within the first 15minutes. A rescue plan must be forseen so that the end user is rescued in the shortest time possible. A good harness with buttock support and without compression of the inguinal area must be used. Fallprotec supplies rescue equipment such as automatic descenders.
The sternal anchorage point should be preferred as the suspended position in case of a fall is more ergonomic and the rescue operation is facilitated thanks to the weight recovery by straps under the buttocks. The dorsal anchor point enables a free work space, If a low-end harness is used. Both according to the full body harness specification.
In European Union, fall protection systems respond to standards such as EN365, EN795, EN353, EN360, EN361, EN362, EN813. Depending on your system and your need, the standards to be taken into account will differ. Fallprotec's products are all certified to the latest European standards. More details about each certification on our certificates page.
The maximum weight of the end user depends how the PPE is tested with the notify body. The minium test weight is 100kg; certain harness and lanyards are tested with 120 or even 136kg. The end user should refer to the marking or user manual of the PPE and the harness inspection checklist.
In fall arrest configuration a lanyard or retractable fall arrester with integrated energy absorbing device complying to EN363 is mandatory. The maximum force transmitted to the end user is 6kN. In fall restraint or work positionning configuration, the energy absorbing device on lanyard is not mandatory.
The European fall arrest system regulations don't specify explically a maximum free fall distance. As per standard EN354 a fall arrest lanyard is maximum 2,0m long, hence we can deduce that maximum potential fall height is 2,0m plus the breaking distance 0,7 m. For OSHA regulations, the maximum allowed free fall distance (distance between the walkway and the feet of the user after a fall) is 1,8m. This limitation aims to reduce the risk of pendulum effect, which could cause additional injuries. In any case the end user it is advisable to use PPE that reduces to the maximum the fall height.
To know the height starting which you are obliged to equip the end user with collective or personnal fall protection, the end client must refer to European or national health and safety laws. The fall arrest EN standards consider a minimum height of 3m, below this height the fall arrest equipment is not efficient and the person will colide the ground in case of a fall.
The German DIN4226 standard "Equipment for building maintenance - safety requirements for workplaces and accesses - design and execution" requires a fall arrest system if the height of fall is higher than 1,00m.
The French labour code decree n°2004-924, also mentions a maximum height of 1,00m.
When a user falls from one meter the force transmitted to his body is 12kN. Hence even for lower distances a fall protection system makes sense
Fall clearence, composition of the roof, slopes of the roof, obstacles on the roof… all these factors influence the type of fall protection required. Fallprotec has developped a wide range of fall protection devices to respond to each specificity.
An inspection of the SecuRope by a competent person must be done. This person will determine which parts of the lifeline must be replaced in order to ensure 100% safety.
Work at height means work in any place where, if precautions were not taken, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury. You are working at height if you:
Collective protection is equipment that does not require any action from the person working at height to be effective. Examples are permanent or temporary guardrails, scissor lifts and tower scaffolds.
Personal protection is equipment that requires the individual to act to be effective. An example is putting on a safety harness correctly and connecting it, via an energy-absorbing lanyard, to a suitable anchor point.
One must be capable of (A risk assesessement) identifying existing and predictable hazards and (helps) taking prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
Usually a competent person is designated to do this job. He or she conducts the fall hazard survey and identifies new and existing fall hazards and how to protect exposed employees with a fall protection assessment. The competent person may also supervise the selection, installation, use and inspection of non-certified anchorages in jurisdictions where this is permitted and verify that current systems are in compliance with applicable standards. He or she also ensures a rescue plan is in place for a fallen worker, participates in accident investigations, inspects equipment and removes from service damaged or otherwise unusable equipment.
Fallprotec installer manual indicate the maximum allowed force transmitted to the structure in case of fall.
For cable lifeline the certified installer can verify the forces by using the Excel calculation sheet, since the forces vary depending of several parameters. (span, length of lifeline, number of users etc.)
For anchor points or rigid fall arrest rails, the max. force transmitted to the rail is 6kN if one user falls, 7kN if two user fall, 8kN if three user fall and finally 9kN if four user fall simultaneously.
A competent person can calculate the forces transmitted to the host structure.
An example of a fragile glass ceiling supporting a lifeline thanks to our engineered brackets can be found in our case studies.
The standard EN795:2012 requires that the characteristics of each lifeline or anchor point be referenced in a logbook which contains a layout of the installation and the fixing characteristics, ( bolts dimensions, material and strength, chemical or mechanical fastening). If such logbook is not available, it is most probably not possible to recertify the anchor device. When the logbook is available, the anchor device must be inspected once a year by a competent person and the logbook must be completed.
Fall arrest equipment must be inspected by a competent person. After a fall protection training, Fallprotec issues certificates that autorize competent persons to inspect the equipment. Trained and certified people can also maintain and repair the systems.
There is no safe distance to the edge of a roof. In addition on fragile roofs there is always the possibility that the roof itself breaks. Collective or personnal fall protection systems must therefore always be integrated in the building design according to roof edge protection regulations.
Fallprotec accompanies you at every step of the project. Depending on the complexity of the project, the realization can last from a few weeks to a continuous follow-along of the project (including set up and training of the workers) during several months.
Regulations have binding legal force throughout every Member State and enter into force on a set date in all the Member States.
Directives lay down certain results that must be achieved but each Member State is free to decide how to transpose directives into national laws.
A European Standard is a standard that has been adopted by one of the three recognized European Standardization Organizations (ESOs): CEN, CENELEC or ETSI. It is produced by all interested parties through a transparent, open and consensus based process. Standards are technical specifications defining requirements for products, production processes, services or test-methods.
The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems and personnel in the United States.
OSHA on the other hand is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor charged with setting and enforcing safety regulations in the workplace. OSHA regulations are governing law and therefore mandatory in nature, meaning all workplaces/employers must comply. Those who do not comply can face serious consequences, including citations and hefty fines.
Take the following steps:
A personal fall arrest equipment is a complete collection of equipment and components that is designed to stop a fall.
Fallprotec lifelines and height access solutions are compatible with PPE's from other manufacturers, at the condition that they are tested in accordance with EN or OSHA standards. However, we strongly advise against mixing components from various manufacturers within the same system.
Fallprotec forbids to combine material from different manufacturers and brands to form an anchoring point, lifeline or height access rail.
The standard EN363 requires that the maximum force transmitted to a end user when stopping a fall can't exceed 6,0kN. This applies for retractable fall arresters designed as per standard EN360 or for energy absorbers designed as per standard EN355.
A lifeline consists of a flexible or rigid line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages at both ends and with or without intermediate anchors to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.
The choice of a cable lifeline vs. a rail lifeline depends on many different factors linked with the environment the lifeline will be installed in.
Our products can be retrofitted on older buildings. It is a common request for the maintenance or renovation. The certified installer will visit the site, verify the host structure and offer you a reliable and durable fall arrest system. Fallprotec lifelines have been used on churches, 16th century buildings… You can see an example in the Arco della Pace in Milano.
While safety is always our top priority, we understand the requirements of elegant looks. We thus provide a variety of solutions that can be temporarily installed, concealed or powder coated to match the aesthetics of the building and remain invisible for visitors.
We have a network of distributors and installers in over 50 countries around the world. We will gladly advise you to the one closest to you. Do not hesitate to call us or to write via our study request page.
There should never be more than one person on a ladder at a given time. Even equipped with a fall arrest rail, the risk exists that tools fall and hurt the person climbing below.
There is no unique answer to this question. People are known to have survived falls from heights of several meters, while a very short fall can cause important injuries. Injuries resulting of a fall depend on a lot of factors, which is why there is no minimum limit to what is considered working at heights.