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How fall arrest and fall prevention differ

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

In occupations where falls are a consistent hazard, there are many different types of protection systems that can be used. The way that they operate is different, but they can all help to prevent serious injuries. It’s important to know how these systems work.

Additionally, it’s wise to note that injuries can certainly still happen. Even the best workplace safety equipment doesn’t prevent all injuries. But it is still important to know how to put yourself in the best possible position and what type of protection systems you should be using. Below are two of the main types.

Fall arrest systems catch a fall

If you use the fall arrest system, the point is to catch the person who has fallen. The fall itself is not prevented. But the safety system keeps the worker from being significantly injured.

For example, a rope and harness system that is hooked up on the roof is a fall arrest system. Workers can still slip and fall, but the harness catches them before they fall over the roof and hit the ground below. This makes it a much less dangerous event.

Fall prevention systems make falls impossible

Though nothing is 100% guaranteed to stop a fall, the goal of a fall prevention system is to make it impossible or at least as unlikely as can be. A worker’s fall is not supposed to be arrested as it occurs, because no worker should ever be in danger of falling to begin with.

For instance, workers who have to walk across a catwalk will likely have railings on the catwalk. Railings are an easy way to install fall prevention systems. In theory, a worker should never climb over the railing or slip and fall off of the catwalk. If they do, there will be nothing to catch them, but that’s an event that shouldn’t take place unless something very unexpected occurs.

Have you been injured?

Again, even with the right systems in place, you could certainly be injured on the job. All workers who spend time at heights face some inherent risks in their careers. If you do get hurt, be sure you know about all of your rights to workers’ compensation.