This Toolbox Talk – Fall Restraint Vs Fall Arrest will compare the two with one another and discuss which system is better to use.
A fall arrest system will stop you in the process of a fall, while a fall restraint system will keep you from reaching the edge, not allowing you to fall. Both systems are forms of active fall protection but have very different uses in real-life applications. Let’s dive a little deeper into what this means.
Fall Restraint systems prevent you from falling.
In the hierarchy of controls, Restraint is often preferred to Fall Arrest. Fall restraint systems also include an anchor point, some type of lanyard, and proper Personal Protective Equipment or PPE which in this case would be a safety harness. These systems are great when you have wide-open rooftops or platforms without any work needing to be done near the fall hazard. The hazard could be a skylight, unprotected rooftop hatch, or the edge of the building/platform.
Fall Arrest is a system that stops you while falling or after.
It typically includes an anchor point or series of anchor points, a safety lanyard or self-retracting lifeline, and a harness. This system must be designed to “arrest” or stop you before hitting the lower surface in the case of a fall. This gives you the freedom to walk all the way up to a fall hazard to do your work.
Regardless of using a fall arrest or fall restraint system, both are categorized under active fall protection safety systems.
Which is Better?
Both fall arrest and fall restraint systems have their application in the workplace. Fall arrest systems may save your life, but there is no guarantee that it will eliminate injuries. Fall restraint will limit your movement, but likely reduce the possibility of injury. If given the option, always select the option that will eliminate you from reaching the hazard.
It is in good practice to have both these systems included in a fall protection plan and on site. However, it will depend on the work being performed during construction work. A Fall protection plan is site specific and must be complied by a competent person.
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