What is the Difference Between Fall Arrest and Fall Restraint?

What is the Difference Between Fall Arrest and Fall Restraint

What is the Difference Between Fall Arrest and Fall Restraint?

When working at heights, it is extremely important to install the appropriate safety equipment to reduce risk. Understanding the relevant terminology is an important part of height safety. If you work at a site with any kind of fall hazard, it is imperative that you understand the nuances of fall protection and fall prevention systems that will protect your team. Below, we outline the difference between fall arrest and fall restraint.

For personalised advice, contact our team at Australian Height Safety Services today.


Why Are Fall Protection Systems So Important? 

Fall protection is a crucial aspect of height safety legislation, and you cannot underestimate its importance. Working at any height poses significant health risks for employees and contractors, including injury, lifelong disability, and even death. At the end of the day, having a fall protection system in place is all about keeping your team as safe as possible. Fall arrest systems and fall restraint systems are slightly different, but both share a fundamental goal of preventing injuries from occurring. 

Some types will include personal protective equipment, while others may be as simple as installing railings. Understanding the differences can help you better determine which is right for you and the specifics of your work.


General Fall Prevention Systems 

While the term fall prevention may sound quite general, fall prevention systems from an industry perspective refer to a passive system. This includes a roof guardrail system, which adds an extra layer of protection between a worker and a fall hazard. These styles of systems do not require any physical connection to the worker and no prior preparation from the worker. They are, however, usually the most expensive option of the three fall protection systems.


Understanding Fall Arrest Systems

A fall arrest system protects the worker once a fall has occurred, making it the least desired and highest-risk system of the three. A rescue plan must be prepared when using a fall arrest system. Fall arrest equipment isn’t designed to prevent falls, but instead keep workers safe by providing mechanisms to stop the fall after it has occurred. The goal of a fall arrest system is to minimise injury and harm caused in the case of a fall

There are general and personal fall arrest systems. The personal systems include lanyards with shock absorbers and harnesses and the general systems include safety nets and catch platforms. These general systems can be used alongside scaffolding


Understanding Fall Restraint Systems

A fall restraint system physically prevents a worker from reaching and falling from an edge. While there are a variety of types of fall restraint systems, they involve the worker being connected to a roof anchor point with a lanyard. Some of the types of fall restraint systems include horizontal lifelines which are used when the worker is required to roam more freely on the rooftop with a minimised fall hazard. Single-point anchors are used for smaller work areas that are more clearly defined.


What Does My Worksite Need – A Fall Arrest System or a Fall Restraint System?

For each work area, it is important to consider the individual requirements and accessibility of the fall edge in question before determining which system to use. All systems are designed to keep personnel from harm when working at heights and there are benefits of each. At the end of the day, the main difference to keep in mind is this: a fall arrest safety system is going to absorb shock and lower the likelihood of injury after a fall, while a fall restraint system is going to anchor workers to a rooftop or height to keep a fall from occurring. 

If neither of these options is appealing, then a fall protection system can at times be a straightforward – albeit often more expensive – solution. A height safety officer will be able to better advise you on how to appropriately protect your workers from a fall edge.


Contact Australian Height Safety Services for Expert Height Safety Advice 

When it comes to fall protection, you need the best of the best. From safety nets to guard rails, and anchor points to a full body harness, all your equipment needs to be of the highest quality possible to keep your worksite safe. Australian Height Safety Services have been providing businesses with expert height safety advice and installations for over 15 years. We use only the highest quality Australian products and our expert installation processes guarantee regulatory compliance. 

For more information on our height safety products and services, contact our friendly team today. One of our experts will be able to chat with you about your situation and help determine what kind of fall protection will be more appropriate.




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