4 Types Of Fall Protection Systems


When it comes working at heights, even the best height-access equipment can’t keep workers from using other safety systems. federal OSHA and state regulations dictate certain safety options to protect workers against falls. Occupations, which involve working at heights, are among the most dangerous in the world. That’s why many steps are taken to ensure fall protection.

In different industries, such as construction, façade repair, painting or window cleaning, the employer has to prevent accidents by providing a safe work environment. Part of this environment is the fall protection equipment and training. It’s important to be aware of the fall protection laws in your state in order to provide workers with an adequate training course.

There are several categories of fall protection according to OSHA.

  1. Fall Arrest System

Fall arrest systems are needed when the fall hazard is present. OSHA’s definition of a fall hazard is usually a possibility of drop from the height of four feet or more from a working surface to a lower level. The fall arrest equipment is an anchor point, body harness, and a connector.

  1. Positioning

The positioning system lets the worker sit in the harness without holding on with one or two hands. Meaning, both hands are free to work. This system is used together with the fall arrest system since it can’t prevent a fall on its own.

  1. Retrieval

A retrieval or rescue plan is an integral part of any fall protection plan. The plan features actions, which need to be taken after a worker has fallen. OSHA doesn’t give exact instruction on how to draft such a plan, but it must be present.

  1. Suspension

Suspension equipment can lower and support the worker while the hands are free for work. The system is usually employed by window cleaners and façade painters. The suspension system must be used together with a fall arrest system.

Following OSHA requirements can keep the workers safe at different heights. In the majority of cases, deaths and injuries due to falls happen because of improper planning, damaged equipment or failing to follow regulations. It is up to the employer to ensure the 100% safety of the worker.

OSHA has more safety regulations for work at different heights. Each construction, window cleaning, and façade repair company has to follow the regulations and, if possible, suggestions.



The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
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