The terms fall arrest and fall restraint are often used as similar aspects of the fall protection system. However, it needs to be noted that fall arrest systems and fall restraint systems promote two different types of fall protection functions. A fall arrest system works by preventing a worker from falling down after a fall incident has already taken place. On the other hand, a fall restraint system prevents a worker from getting close to a potential hazard.

In most circumstances, fall arrest systems prove to be more useful that fall restraint systems. With fall arrest systems, workers can access hard-to-reach places and perform their duties well. With fall restraint systems, such as guardrails, workers often find it difficult to access difficult locations on the site and this may come in their way of successful project accomplishment. However, workers need formal training to be able to use fall arrest systems in an appropriate manner.

The training is meant to educate the workers on the appropriate use of fall arrest tools. Through this training, workers can also get a clear idea about the different types of hazards that exist in particular work sites and become capable of handling such situations with caution and care. Additionally, workers should be trained on the appropriate use of harnesses without which fall arrest systems will not work. A worker remains susceptible to injuries if he fails to use fall arrest gears properly. Fall arrest systems are customised solutions that cannot be used to protect large numbers of people. Horizontal fall arrest systems can provide support to 2 to 4 individuals at a time.

Fall restraint systems involve the use of passive fall protection systems that prevent a worker from reaching hazard areas. Workers using passive protection systems do not need to undergo any specialised training to become capable of using specialised equipment. On the other hand, workers using active fall protection systems should ensure that they adopt special measures to maintain safety at all levels of work. However, fall restraint systems have their own set of drawbacks. Systems such as guardrails and netting prevent a worker from reaching certain locations and if a worker has to access those unusual locations, there are chances that he will ignore safety measures. Without fall arrest systems, he will be exposed to a greater risk of injury under such conditions. As per the standard, workers operating in areas with slopes ranging from 0 to 18.4 degrees should use fall restraint systems. If the slopes are outside this range, workers need to use fall arrest equipment to ensure maximum protection.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requires companies to deploy appropriate fall protection systems in their worksites. Choosing between fall restraint systems and fall arrest systems typically depends on a number of factors including the number of workers who need to work at heights and the type of work that needs to be executed.

For further information on Fall Arrest and Restraint Systems please contact a member of our sales team or feel free to browse our extensive Fall Arrest and Restraint range.