Fall Protection Equipment Explained

Fall Protection Equipment Explained

21st April 2015

All of us who work in the construction industry here in the UK know just how important it is to ensure that health and safety in the workplace is taken seriously.  It’s the responsibility of any employer (including the self-employed) to make sure that the health and safety of workers is given top priority at all times.  We’re lucky enough here in Britain to have strict health and safety regulations, especially when it comes to the workplace and this places an obligation on employers and employees to take all possible measures to eliminate or reduce risks.

Nowadays there is all manner of equipment available that has been designed to help to keep us safe as we go about our work, whatever sector of the construction industry we work in.  When it comes to working at height, fall protection equipment is mandatory and it’s vital that the right type of equipment is chosen for the tasks at hand.  Fall protection equipment can be divided into two categories, personal protection and collective protection so today we’re going to take a look at both types and explain the differences between them.

Collective Fall Protection Equipment

Collective fall protection equipment is that which does not require the person working at height to act for it to be effective.  Some examples of collective protection equipment are temporary guardrails, tower scaffold and scissor lifts.  Collective fall protection solutions should be installed to protect the people working and others who are in the general area of the work being undertaken.

Collective fall prevention equipment such as guardrails, handrails and working platforms should be used and collective fall arrest equipment such as nets and airbags will provide an added level of fall protection.

Personal Fall Protection Equipment

Personal fall protection equipment is the type of equipment that requires the worker to act for it to be effective.  An example of personal protection is putting on a safety harness and correctly connecting it with an energy absorbing lanyard to a suitable safe anchor point.  There are several different types of fall restraint or fall arrest systems available so it’s vital that you choose the correct type of system for the type of work you are about to undertake.  Fall protection systems are designed to minimise the consequences of a fall should one take place.  In short, a fall restraint system will prevent a worker from reaching a hazard while a fall arrest system allows the worker to reach a hazard and then protects them should they fall.

There’s no room for complacency when it comes to working at height – you need to use all of the options available to minimise the risk of a fall taking place.  Where working at height is unavoidable, the correct personal protective equipment is the only way to ensure that you are as safe as possible at all times.