Fall Restraint Vs. Fall Arrest: What’s the Difference?

Ken's Tip - Malta Dynamics

While the terms fall restraint and fall arrest are often used interchangeably, the reality is that there are many differences between the two. If you work at heights, it’s imperative that you know the difference.

What is the Difference?

Arrest refers to protection when a fall is occurring, while restraint refers more to prevention. For example, a fall protection system that is classified as ‘fall arrest’ works to prevent further injury and stop free fall when a worker is in the process of falling. According to ANSI Z359.0-2007, fall arrest is defined as “the action or event of stopping a free fall or the instant where the downward free fall has been stopped.” It requires equipment with components configured to arrest a free fall, such as a full-body harness, self-retracting lifeline and anchor point.

A fall system for restraint prevents your workers from even accessing areas with potential hazards. It’s all about prevention. According to ANSI Z359.0-2007, fall restraint protection systems require “the technique of securing an authorized person to an anchorage using a lanyard short enough to prevent the person’s center of gravity from reaching the fall hazard.” Fall restraint systems are common within leading edge rooftop applications and do not allow for much freedom of movement. A fall restraint system is always preferred because it removes the hazard of falling.

Which One is For You?

While fall arrest protection systems gain popularity because they allow access to more sites, fall restraint systems are often the preferred option to prevent falls. When determining which to use or employ on your jobsite, it’s important to do the following:

  • Request a Competent Person to review the fall hazards and activities before selecting a fall protection system
  • Consult with a fall protection expert or a member of the Malta Dynamics’ team to evaluate the type of fall protection system that would best fit the job. We are happy to walk you through the process and discuss fall protection systems for your application that will meet and exceed ANSI and OSHA requirements.

When you begin the process of installing your fall protection system, think about the following:

  • Who will be utilizing the system?
  • What type of work needs to be performed?
  • How many of your workers will be working at elevation?

The primary goal on your jobsite is productivity, but safety is essential. You can achieve both when seeking out fall restraint or fall arrest systems that help you get the job done safely and without the risk of falls or citations.

You are not alone when making this decision. Contact us at Malta Dynamics to find the information you need to make an informed decision.

We can help with your fall and safety protection needs. Call us today!

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