Mansafe Cable System Inspection

Understanding Cable-Based Fall Protection Systems: Fall Arrest vs Fall Restraint

Fall protection systems are crucial for ensuring the safety of workers at height, and cable-based systems play a significant role in this endeavor. Among the key concepts to grasp are fall arrest and fall restraint, which are distinct in their functions and applications.

Understanding the distinctions between fall arrest and fall restraint systems is vital for implementing effective fall protection measures.

While fall arrest systems offer freedom of movement with safety in the event of a fall, fall restraint systems restrict access to hazardous areas, prioritizing prevention over intervention.

By adhering to recommended practices and ensuring thorough testing, businesses can safeguard the well-being of their workers and maintain compliance with safety regulations in various work environments.

Fall Arrest vs Fall Restraint

Both Fall Restraint and Fall Arrest systems are Personal Fall Protection (PFP) Systems. It's essential to recognise the fundamental differences between fall arrest and fall restraint systems.

Fall Arrest

A fall arrest system is designed to provide maximum freedom of movement for workers while ensuring their safety in the event of a fall. This means that workers can reach areas where falls could potentially occur, such as the edge of a roof during gutter maintenance. In the unfortunate event of a fall, the system swiftly arrests the fall, allowing for self-rescue or prompt assistance. Fall arrest systems, for tasks requiring movement and potential falls, are complex and require thorough training and rescue provisions.

Fall Restraint

A fall restraint system aims to prevent workers from reaching points where falls could happen. It restricts access to hazardous areas, ensuring that workers can perform their tasks safely without being exposed to fall risks. For instance, maintaining gutters along the edge of a roof or working near fragile roof sections, roof lights, or air vents might require fall restraint systems.

In the hierarchy of controls, Fall Restraint is preferred to Fall Arrest. Typically, a Fall Restraint system is simpler to use than a Fall Arrest system and is therefore more likely to be used. Compared to a Fall Arrest system, Fall Restraint does not require a rescue plan.

Both Fall Restraint and Fall Arrest systems can include harnesses, lanyards, fall arrest bocks, anchor points, and other PFP equipment.

Mansafe Cable System Inspection
Mansafe Cable System Inspection

Considerations for Fall Restraint Systems

When implementing fall restraint systems, several considerations come into play.

Testing for Safety

It's crucial to ensure that fall restraint systems are tested to withstand fall arrest loads. This testing guarantees the system's reliability, especially in scenarios where misuse, such as wearing an over-length lanyard for extended access, could occur.

Distance from Hazard

Fall restraint systems are typically positioned more than 2 metres away from the hazard. This distance minimises the risk of workers reaching the hazardous area. Additionally, workers are usually connected to the system using a fixed-length lanyard, with a maximum length of 2 metres, to maintain safe working distances.


For more information about Cable-Based Fall Protection Systems please contact...

Daniel Capper

Business Development Director

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