Heightsafe is an industry-leading Work at Height company who aim to prevent as many height-related accidents in the workplace as possible. According to recent statistics, there are more deaths from Working at Height than any other accident in the workplace. In 2019/20, according to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), 111 workers died whilst doing their job. The highest cause of death is ‘Falls from a height’, standing at 29 fatalities. Whilst this figure is a decrease from 2018/19, which recorded 40 deaths caused by falls from height, it is still a much higher number than it should be. One of the main contributing factors to these accidents taking place is companies not providing regulatory standard safety equipment. One piece of equipment that is designed to likely save someone’s life when a fall happens is a Fall Arrest System.
What is a Fall Arrest System?
A Fall Arrest System is designed to protect a worker once they have fallen off a building. Its design consists of a Connecting Device that links to a previously installed Safety Line, which is usually located above or below the personnel depending on the structure. The other side of the device is attached to the body harness equipped on the workers torso, meaning if they fall off the edge of the roof, the harness will perform an ‘arrest’ and prevent them from falling any further. This equipment could be the difference between preventing injury or worse, and a lot of buildings lack an up to date Fall Arrest System. These systems tend to be preferred when there is a fragile surface, narrow ledge, or unusual building/roof shape on-site, meaning there is limited space for movement and more risk of a fall.
The main difference between Fall Arrest and Fall Restraint
The difference between the two is within their titles. As mentioned above, a Fall Arrest System is something that occurs after a person has begun to free fall. Once they have fallen off a building, the equipment prevents the worker from falling any further.
Fall Restraint Systems prevent the worker from falling off the roof completely. They are attached to a Fixed Anchor, and it consists of a body holding device that acts as a leash, preventing the worker from reaching the edge of the building or roof in the first place. This is usually preferred for typical building and roof areas with more space for walking. However, they are not recommended for unusual working areas with limited room that make a fall more likely. That is when a Fall Arrest System should be used.
The Process of Installing a Fall Arrest System
If your building requires a Fall Arrest System, you must have a solution installed as soon as possible. The best way to begin this process is by contacting a specialist within the Working at Height industry, such as Heightsafe. The first step is to enquire about what system you might need installing or testing. Following your enquiry, you will receive a quote. Once you are happy with the quote and the job is commissioned, a thorough Risk Assessment will be carried out to make sure all persons involved in the project are protected and safe. After completing the Risk Assessment, a date will be arranged for work will begin.
Heightsafe begin the installation process by making sure that a working Safety Line is in place. If there is one already installed, Heightsafe can Survey and Test this system to make sure it meets sufficient standards. If your building does not have a Safety Line, Heightsafe can install one for your building. Depending on the structure and its surroundings, the System will either be an Overhead Fall Arrest Track, or it will be a Steel Roof Safety Line that is attached to Anchors installed within the roof. Once the Safety Line has been tested, an appropriate fixed body length harness will then be applied, and this will be used whenever the building owner needs to work from height.