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In construction work, workers are frequently required to be stationed at substantial heights to complete projects according to the project’s specifications. This can place the worker at risk for a fall which, in turn, can lead to injuries or death. A recent post examined passive systems. This post will focus on common active systems that should be in place for fall protection.

There are certain requirements for an active personal fall protection system. For example, there must be an anchorage point that supports adequate loads. Also, a harness or body belt for fall restraint should be worn by employees in accordance with instructions from its manufacturer. A connector or lanyard, which is essentially a rope, which can be adjusted should also be used so that a worker who falls will not strike the ground. Employers should also ensure that the free fall distance never exceeds six feet. There are three types of personal fall protection systems: a personal fall arrest system, a personal fall restraint system, and positioning devices.

Personal fall arrest systems must use harnesses instead of body belts, a shock absorbing lanyard that has two snap hooks that lock, and have an anchorage point that supports at least 5,000 pounds. These systems should also be inspected prior to use and inspected and documented a minimum of two times per year. A rapid rescue plan should also be in place.

With the personal fall restraint system, the equipment should be set and adjusted so there will not be an over-the-edge free fall. The harness or body belt can be used and the anchorage point must support four times the load that it is intended to hold. Finally, with positioning devices, the harness or body belt can be used, the device is required to be set and adjusted so there will be no more than a two-foot free fall, and the anchorage point must support twice the intended load or 3,000 pounds – whichever is higher.

People who have been hurt in a work-related accident or lost a loved one in a fall should be aware of these required systems, as it can be an important factor in a legal filing. A lawyer experienced in helping clients hurt while working high-risk occupations may be of assistance, whether with pursuing workers’ compensation or a third-party claim.

Source: dir.ca.gov, “Fall Protection in Construction — Fall Protection Systems — Common Active Systems, page 2,” accessed on Nov. 6, 2017