The Difference between Fall Restraint and Fall Arrest

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When you work at heights, the necessity of safety guidelines and safety equipment may be obvious. What you may not know is the many options you have to help keep you and your team members safe from harm.

The Importance of Understanding All Safety Options

While working on a roof or doing construction, do you always have anchor points on roof surfaces in place? Have you asked yourself if roof safety Guardrails or a working platform will be necessary?

When people’s lives are at risk, you need to consider more than what is needed in case someone falls. What if you could have prevented that person from ever getting into the situation of being so close to the edge and losing their balance?

When you understand the difference between fall restraint and fall arrest solutions, it becomes clear how many opportunities you have to safeguard people’s lives. If someone should fall, there are different stages leading up to that event. You can often implement safety equipment at each of those stages, minimising the risk of someone falling. And that’s why you need to understand both fall restraint and arrest methods.


Two Important Steps in Safety Management

There is actually a third option apart from fall restraint and fall arrest, namely fall protection. This will be anything that affects how hurt someone will be after falling. For example, wearing PPE will result in fewer injuries compared to wearing only general clothing.

When you talk about fall restraint measures or equipment, it’s anything put in place to prevent an individual from reaching a hazardous position. There are many resources you can use to keep workers away from the edge of a roof, even if they’re concentrating on work instead of being careful about where they’re stepping.

In contrast, fall arrest resources will be what stops—arrests—you mid-fall. Of course, it’s ideal that no one ever gets into the situation of falling, but accidents do happen and in some situations you may not be able to put fall restraint measures in place. Then you need to know something will prevent the individual from falling all the way onto the lower surface and getting hurt (or worse).

Both of these categories are necessary, and neither is necessarily better than the other. However, if a fall restraint system will hamper your work, fall arrest is the more practical option. Or perhaps it’s impossible to keep the worker away from the drop, such as when working on a roof ladder. You need to assess the situation, know your different resources and implement them to create the safest working environment you can.


Practical Examples

You can customise your work setup to suit your needs, thanks to various fall restraint and arrest options.

For fall restraint you have options such as:

  • A lanyard with a fixed-length connecting the worker to a roof anchor point. It must be short enough that when it’s stretched out, the individual can still not reach the edge of the roof.
  • A lanyard can connect you to an EWP basket so you can’t be thrown out in the case of an accident.
  • When you install roof safety rails, there’s a safe barrier between workers and the building’s edge.

For fall arrest equipment you’ll usually use a Fall Arrest harness and a Lanyard, This must be measured so not to let the individual hit the ground or other surface below. This is critical and great care should be taken to ensure that the user’s Lanyard is correctly measured.

You can see how important it is to ensure proper safety guidelines and monitor aspects like anchor point certification. If any part of a fall restraint or fall arrest system is of low quality, worn out or can’t handle the weight of a person, it could cost someone their life.


Only the Best for Your Team

When you’re setting up your fall arrest or fall restraint systems, you need to work with the best. The quality of the equipment such as the roof anchor points, as well as the workmanship during installation, determine how safe your working environment will be. We can also perform height safety audits and inspections help you protect your staff and contractors. You can count on Austral Height Safety to help you get it right.

Our team has five decades of experience and saving lives is our mission – We are the height safety Melbourne experts you can rely on. You can trust us with your safety concerns so call us on 03 9462 3350 to discuss your needs and get a quote.