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Fall Protection

Employees who are working at height need to ensure they’re using the correct fall protection equipment, such as harness kits, safety lines and limiters, at all times. This type of work is particularly hazardous and the source of a significant proportion of workplace injuries, so it’s essential to protect workers sufficiently.

At Seton, we stock a large range of personal protective equipment (PPE), including fall protection equipment, which enables companies to manage their health and safety requirements. Having equipment that is used properly and in working order can make the difference between safety and a fatality. See our guide to choosing the right fall arrest equipment.

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Choosing Fall Arrest Products



There are various types of fall protection equipment available, which should be used to prevent or minimise the damage caused by falling from height.

Fall protection harnesses are designed to anchor someone to a fall protection system using D-rings that are either positioned at the back or the sides. If a wearer was to suffer a fall, the harness would secure them and ensure that the weight was evenly distributed across the torso, shoulders and hips.

Lanyards, either self-retracting or shock-absorbing versions, are used to attach the harness to the anchor. This reduces the potential risk of falls, as wearers can only drop as far as the lanyard’s length, and injuries are reduced.

Tool lanyards enable you to safely and securely use and store tools while working at height by preventing them from falling and causing injury.

An arrest block is required when working in compact areas, as they have a lower space clearance than conventional lanyards, arresting free fall to within a few millimetres.

These fall protection mechanisms can be used in conjunction with specialist accessories to improve safety even further in certain conditions, including fall arrest tripods for lowering and raising workers below ground level and permanent anchorage connectors that can be attached to walls.

Rescue straps that enable wearers to be lifted vertically through manholes and rope grabs that allow workers to move up and down vertical lines are examples of other equipment that may be required.

Choosing the fall arrest system



Working at height is a dangerous task, and fall protection equipment can be used to improve safety and limit the risk of serious injuries or fatalities. However, to be effective, it’s essential that this equipment is fitted and used correctly - otherwise it won’t work as needed when it’s required.

As an employer, you need to choose the best equipment that is appropriate for the type of work that will be carried out. It’s essential to take into account individual factors, including the specific working conditions, the environment, how often the work will be carried out, and the duration of the work.

What type of safety harness to use?



The type of harness that is required for a specific task will depend on the environment and the area of work. There are several specialist harnesses available to suit specific needs. For instance, applications involving welding will require heat-resistant equipment, whereas those used to climb towers should be lightweight and often have a built-in seat.

What type of lanyard?



There are two main types of lanyards available, energy-absorbing and self-retracting, and the one to use will be based on the height you’re working at. There needs to be a certain distance between the ground and the anchor point to use an energy-absorbing version, and the self-retracting models provide more movement and reduce trip hazards.

Maintaining fall protection equipment



Fall protection equipment cannot be relied upon if it’s not maintained properly and kept in good working order. Looking after the equipment and checking it regularly for any defects or signs of damage is crucial to maintain effective health and safety.

Connections on harnesses need to be checked each time they are used, and any items that are found to be broken or not working properly should be replaced or discarded.

Training



Working at height should not be carried out by any persons that have not had the necessary training, as it is one of the most hazardous situations to be in.

FAQs



What are the costs of harnesses?



The actual cost of a harness is about more than just the price of the item. It’s also essential to consider all the health and safety requirements of a company and the need to reduce workplace injuries.

Costs will vary widely depending on the specific type of harness purchased and what additional features are required, such as lanyard keepers, padding and fall indicators.

How long will fall protection equipment last?



Most fall protection equipment won’t have a set expiry date, but there will be guidelines on how often the equipment should be inspected. Routine checks should take place before each use, and comprehensive inspections need to be incorporated into the maintenance schedule, with any harness or lanyard found to be damaged removed from service until it is fixed or replaced.

There are some components of fall protection systems that can be replaced, but this varies between specific products and manufacturers.

Can I use the same fall protection system for a new job?



The answer to this question will depend on the individual job site and the type of fall protection equipment you have been using. In general, many of the systems are flexible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be appropriate for a different setting. For some tasks, it is essential to have equipment that is specific for that job to ensure workers are properly secure.

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