Frequently asked questions

Any unanswered questions? email us to marketing@fallprotec.com

How do you select the right fallprotection system?

How do you select the right fallprotection system?

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.

What is the fall protection hierarchy?

What is the fall protection hierarchy?

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 fallprotection hierarchy. The ANZI standard defines for example: 

  • Elimination or Substitution
  • Passive Fall Protection 
  • Active Fall Restraint
  • Active Fall Arrest
  • Administrative Controls

What is the difference between fall protection, fall arrest and fall restraint?

What is the difference between fall protection, fall arrest and fall restraint?

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.

How do I calculate the fall clearance?

How do I calculate the fall clearance?

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 length of the fall arrest block or lanyard, measured from top anchor to harness anchor point,   “Ll”.
  • The braking distance “Le”.
  • The deflection of the lifeline “d”.
  • The distance between the harness anchor point and the end of the lower limbs i.e. 1,5 meters.

The safety equation expressed in meters and calculated from life line axis is:

  • Ll + Le + d + 1,5 m < clearance 
  • Ll < see length of fall arrest block (50 cm for a 12 m block) or lanyard.
  • Le < 0,3 m for a fall arrest block, 0,7 m for a lanyard.
  • d : depends of type of lifeline (cable or rail)

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.

What is the swing fall hazard?

What is the swing fall hazard?

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

What is the fall factor?

What is the fall factor?

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

What is the process of revision of my equipment?

What is the process of revision of my equipment?

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 (lifeline & PPE) must be inspected 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. 

How long can I use a height safety product?

How long can I use a height safety product?

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 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.

Can I use fix anchor points for suspended rope access?

Can I use fix anchor points for suspended rope access?

To make suspended rope access on an anchor point, the end user must ensure that:

  • The anchor point is certified according to EN795 Type A and has additional requirements as specified here under
  • The anchor point is undeformable at 6kN. 
  • The anchor point has a minimum breaking strength of 15kN.
  • The anchor point is fixed to a rigid structure such as steel beam or concrete.
  • Two independant anchor points are near each other (one for main rope & one for secondary rope)
  • The anchor point has been inspected by a competent person at least once a year

How much time do I have to rescue a person who fell?

How much time do I have to rescue a person who fell?

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. 

Where is the safest attachment point on my harness?

Where is the safest attachment point on my harness?

The sternal anchorage point should be preferred if a harness is used with weight recovery by straps under the buttocks. If a low-end harness is used it is preferable to attach to the dorsal anchor point.

What standards should I take into account for fall protection?

What standards should I take into account for fall protection?

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.

What is the maximum tool and body weight of a user in a harness?

What is the maximum tool and body weight of a user in a harness?

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.

Is the use of an Energy-Absorbing Lanyard mandatory?

Is the use of an Energy-Absorbing Lanyard mandatory?

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. 

What is the maximum allowed fall distance?

What is the maximum allowed fall distance?

The European 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.

From what potential fall height do I need fall arrest equipment?

From what potential fall height do I need fall arrest equipment?

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

How does the type of my roof influence the choice of fallarrest equipment?

How does the type of my roof influence the choice of fallarrest equipment?

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.

My Securope installation arrested a fall. What should I do with the lifeline?

My Securope installation arrested a fall. What should I do with the lifeline?

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.

What is considered to be work at height?

What is considered to be work at height?

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:

  • Work above ground/floor level
  • Could fall from an edge, through an opening or fragile surface or
  • Could fall from ground level into an opening in a floor or a hole in the ground

What separates collective fall protection from personal fall protection?

What separates collective fall protection from personal fall protection?

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.

What skills do you require for a working at height?

What skills do you require for a working at height?

One must be capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards and 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. 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.

How do I know if my building is strong enough to support a fall arrest system?

How do I know if my building is strong enough to support a fall arrest system?

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 fall arrest system installed on my building has no track history. Can I recertify it?

The fall arrest system installed on my building has no track history. Can I recertify it?

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 sutch 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.

Who can inspect fall arrest equipment?

Who can inspect fall arrest equipment?

Fall arrest equipment must be inspected by a competent person. After a training, Fallprotec issues certificates that autorize competent persons to inspect the equipment. Trained and certified people can also maintain and repair the systems.

How close to the edge can I go without needing fall protection?

How close to the edge can I go without needing fall protection?

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.

How long does a fall protection project take?

How long does a fall protection project take?

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.

What is the difference between European regulation, directive and standards?

What is the difference between European regulation, directive and standards?

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.

What is the difference between OSHA and ANSI?

What is the difference between OSHA and ANSI?

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.

What steps should I take if I am responsible to provide fall protection to my staff?

What steps should I take if I am responsible to provide fall protection to my staff?

Take the following steps:

  • Identify work tasks or activities that must be done at elevated heights.
  • Select options that will protect employees from these fall hazards.
  • Identify the employees that perform the work tasks and activities.
  • Train them to recognize the inherent fall hazards and how to implement the selected Fall Protection options

What is personal Fall Arrest Equipment?

What is personal Fall Arrest Equipment?

A personal fall arrest equipment is a complete collection of equipment and components that is designed to stop a fall.

Are Fallprotec equipments compatible with equipment from another provider?

Are Fallprotec equipments compatible with equipment from another provider?

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.

What force is transmitted to the person in case of a fall?

What force is transmitted to the person in case of a fall?

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.

What is a lifeline ?

What is a lifeline ?

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.

What are the pros and cons of a cable lifeline vs. a rail?

What are the pros and cons of a cable lifeline vs. a rail?

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.

Examples:

  • When the fall clearance is low, Fallprotec recommends rail lifelines.
  • When installed on a high ceiling, Fallprotec recommends rail lifelines. 
  • If the environment is very corrosive stainless steel AISI316 cable lifeline is more suitable than aluminium rails.

I need to install a lifeline on an old building. Is it possible?

I need to install a lifeline on an old building. Is it possible?

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.

I need to secure the access to heights in my building, but without disturbing the aesthetics. Are there discreet solutions for architectural constructions?

I need to secure the access to heights in my building, but without disturbing the aesthetics. Are there discreet solutions for architectural constructions?

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.

How do I contact you for my project? Do you have a reseller in my country?

How do I contact you for my project? Do you have a reseller in my country?

We have a network of distributors and installers in over 48 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 contact page.

How many people can be on a ladder at the same time?

How many people can be on a ladder at the same time?

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. 

How far can I fall without hurting myself?

How far can I fall without hurting myself?

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.