In job sites where workers are at risk for falling from 3 meters or higher, it is the legal obligation of the business owner to enforce a complete fall protection program. A complete program covers at length the knowledge and proper use of fall protection equipment.
As the famous war general and strategist Sun Tzu quoted hundreds of years ago, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” In this case, knowing the types of falls will help identify how to prevent them and the equipment to use against them.
Types of Falls
Falls that occur when a person hits a walking or working surface or hits some other object causing him/ her to fall. These are very common but not severe. Generally they are known as slips or trips.
This is another type of fall where a person unexpectedly lands on a surface lower or higher than expected. Falls of this type is either forward moving or sideways. These are more severe than same surface falls but less frequent.
Generally falls from heights are of lower frequency but most severe, oftentimes causing disability or worse fatality.
Fall Arrest Components
It is mandatory that workers wear fall arrest gear when working at heights and guidelines on wearing such is strictly enforced. The Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) is the most commonly used system in the workplace. There are four components of this system often referred to as the ABCDs of the PFAS:
Refers to a fixed structure or a secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices, and which is independent of the means of supporting or suspending the worker.
Is a full body harness worn by the worker.
Refers to a device which is used to couple (connect) parts of the system together. It may be an independent component of the system (such as a carabiner), or an integral component of part of the system (such as a buckle or dee-ring sewn into a body belt or body harness, or a snap-hook spliced or sewn to a lanyard or self-retracting lanyard).
Refers to any mechanism, such as a rope grab, ripstitch lanyard, specially woven lanyard, tearing or deforming lanyard, or automatic self retracting-lifeline/lanyard, which serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limits the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest.