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ABC Of Fall Protection

In the safety industry, the term ABC of fall protection refers to the three essential components of a personal fall arrest solution.

In the safety industry, the term ABC of fall protection refers to the three essential components of a personal fall arrest solution. It is on record that one of the leading causes of injury and death in Europe remains falls from height, particularly in the construction industry.

Fall protection is very important for your safety. You can work safely on the job site thanks to your body harness which gives you the self-assurance and comfort you need to concentrate on the task at hand. However, a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) is comprised of multiple components. Construction workers who face the possibility of vertical drops of at least 6 feet should use PFAS, according to OSHA.

ABC Of Fall Protection

The four components of a PFAS, also known as the ABCs of fall protection, are as follows: anchorage, body support and connecting devices.

A – ANCHORAGE: Choosing an anchor point is the first step in selecting an anchorage connector. This will support the worker’s weight and the forces necessary to stop the fall. As a result, it needs to be able to withstand the weight and be securely fastened to the structure. An I-beam is a common example of this. Working with project engineers to install a fall protection anchor point or a temporary fall protection solution like a webbing sling or webbing mobile lifeline may even be necessary while construction is still underway.

Anchor points for tasks that could put workers at risk of falling can be found through a thorough risk assessment. Because they minimize the so-called pendulum effect and speed up fall arrest, the best anchor points are directly above a worker. When a worker falls, they swing back and forth which can cause them to collide with the structure and injure themselves. The general rule is as follows: The risk is higher the wider the angle between the worker and the anchor point. Therefore, even when working on flat roof structures necessitates an overhead anchor point, check to see that the angle between the worker and the anchorage point does not exceed 30 degrees. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using an anchor and putting it in the right place.

READ: When Must You Use Fall Protection Equipment? Get Answer Here

A worker should also be able to move around freely without getting their connecting device caught in the connector. Swiveling anchorage connectors or self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) which include swivels, can accomplish this. Workers are more likely to remove their fall protection if they keep getting tripped up or caught in it, putting them at risk of falling.

Anchors are also used to support loads and provide fall protection at the connecting points of an attachment. The kind of anchors to use would rely on the sort of industry and establishment, the work necessities, and the accessible construction. An anchor device can take one of two forms:

  • Pre-made, improvised solutions: The capacity of these devices should be at least 5,000 lbs. per worker.
  • Solutions that are tested and designed: A safety factor of two (rated at twice the applied load) is required for these devices.


B – BODY WEAR: In the event of a fall, only a full-body harness provides the necessary level of protection. It focuses the strongest parts of the body—the chest, shoulders, upper thighs, and pelvis—with the forces necessary to stop a fall. Additionally, it provides multiple restraint options, including a back D-ring for fall protection. Some harnesses include a front D-ring for climbing and lowering when working in confined spaces. Side D-rings may be available for additional control.

It is essential to size a safety harness. A worker may fall out if it is too loose, rendering the fall protection useless. You can select the appropriate safety harness for your employees by using a size and weight chart. It is just as important to use a harness correctly, so read the manufacturer’s instructions again. The importance of regularly inspecting and maintaining harnesses cannot be overstated.


C – CONNECTING DEVICE: A PFAS’s shock absorption and fall arrest features are provided by two primary types of connecting devices. Traditional shock-absorbing lanyards (SAL) have a free-fall distance of 1.8 meters (6 feet) and need an additional 1.1 meters (3.5 feet) to stop a fall completely. SRLs, on the other hand, can stop a fall at 60 cm (2 feet). When fall clearances are low, they are very effective due to their short activation and arresting distances. The most secure method for determining which kind of fall arrester is best suited to a particular application is through site and task risk assessments. Particularly important are the calculations of swing fall and fall clearance. When the anchorage point is horizontal (at ground or shoulder level), one of the risks associated with connecting devices is that they may come into contact with edges during a fall. The material’s abrasive or cutting effect may cause fraying or even breakage. The self-retracting lifeline’s braking mechanism engages and shortens the fall distance in the event of a worker falling from a certain height.

Selecting and employing the ABCs of fall protection correctly can guarantee a high level of protection. The selection of anchorage points, full-body harnesses, and connection devices can be guided by a comprehensive site and task risk assessment which can help identify the specific challenges your workers may face.

READ: What Is The Difference Between Fall Arrest And Fall Restraint?

Have you ever considered what to do in the event that you are unable to avoid falling?

If you slip, slide, or fall, you can avoid injury by following these six steps.

Keep your head safe. Your head is the body part that needs to be protected the most in the event of a fall. Head injuries can be fatal or very serious. Make it a priority to properly position your head to protect it if there is a fall.

  • Lower your head while tucking your chin in.
  • Turn your head to the side if you fall face first.
  • Bring your arms up to set out a certain level of protection. If you fall forward, put them in front of your head, and if you fall backward, put them behind your head.
  • A dangerous and potentially fatal bleed inside your skull could occur if you fall and hit your head while taking blood thinners or anticoagulants. If your doctor tells you to go to the hospital for a CT scan, you should call them.

As you fall, turn. Try to turn your body so that you land on your side if you fall straight forward or backward. A serious injury to your back can result from a direct fall. The head, face, and arms may be damaged in a frontal fall. You can reduce your risk of injury from long distances (such as one-way vertical paths) by landing on your side.

Arms and legs should be bent. It might be tempting to try to fully catch yourself with your arms as you fall. But landing with your arms outstretched and absorbing the entire force of the fall can hurt. As you fall, try to keep your legs and arms slightly bent. Fully landing on your arms in an effort to catch yourself can break your wrists and arms.

Be loose. During a fall, tensing up can make it more likely that you will get hurt. Your body’s tension prevents it from absorbing the force of the fall. The parts that were held in place are more likely to break than to move with the movement, dispersing the impact over a flexible body.

  • To keep your body relaxed, you can try exhaling while falling. Roll away from the force. Rolling into a fall is a good way to reduce the force of the fall if you can. Instead of having your body absorb the impact, rolling transfers the energy of the fall into the roll. You might want to practice falling and rolling at a gym or somewhere else with padded and cushioned floors because the technique is hard.
  • Begin by doing a low squat.
  • With your palms flat on the ground in front of you, lean forward.
  • Lift your weight forward and push off the ground with your legs.
  • Your legs will extend beyond your head.
  • Try to land gently on a shoulder while keeping your back rounded.
  • Allow the momentum to propel you back onto your feet after the roll.

The fall’s force should be spread out. Spreading out the force of the impact over a large portion of your body is an important part of falling safely. Most damage will be caused by falling on a single point. By spreading the impact out, you reduce the chances of a single body part suffering a serious injury.

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