Fall protection: Safety harness, tripod, brackets, securing lanyards, arrest blocks

Working at heights is a major risk in many professions and the rule to combat it is to use suitable fall protection equipment. It is personal protective equipment (category 3 PPE) corresponding to major or fatal risks, it must be made up of three elements: a safety harness, a connector and / or shock absorbers system (retractable fall arresters) and a fixed anchor point (type A) or mobile (type B) such as tripods for example.

Fall protection PPE, in particular safety harnesses, are subject to a certain number of standards and regulations: EN 358 for maintaining in working position and for restraint in risk areas (roofs for example) and EN 361 for fixing in areas at risk of falling and for stopping them (work on towers, buildings, wind turbines, etc.)

Fall protection equipment (safety harness, anchor tripods, cable reels or self-retracting reels, anchor points, support lanyards, safety lines, energy absorbers, etc.) must be scrupulously checked by an expert body accredited at least every year (class 3 PPE) and replaced periodically from 4 to 10 years depending on the category. In all cases, registration in the register is mandatory in order to keep track of the compliance of these PPE.

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The Safety Harness

The safety harness - or full body harness - is a real body envelope which has the heavy task of restraining or stopping the worker at height under the best possible conditions. It consists of straps, buckles and other elements arranged so that the harness can be adjusted appropriately on the body of a person in order to maintain the wearer during the fall and to distribute the forces generated by the stopping of the fall as well as possible.

The safety harness is designed to allow you to work at height while protecting yourself against any fall. It is not suitable for suspended work. The anchor points of this harness are located in the sternal and dorsal position to keep the user upright in the event of a fall. This harness should be used for a short time and occasionally. It must meet and comply with standard NF EN 361.

The Fall Arrester

This fall arrester is used to stop a fall or to prevent access to a risk area. Sometimes called fall arrest or retractor, the automatic retractor fall arrester - the most commonly used - is a device equipped with a lanyard (cable or strap) kept constantly in tension which accompanies the movements of users and is blocked in the event of fall. It is the same principle as a seat belt, it retracts automatically and stops the fall after a short stopping distance. They must comply with standard EN353-1 in the case of rigid anchoring, EN353-2 in the case of flexible anchoring and EN360 for automatic fall arresters.

Anchor Points

Anchors are used to secure or connect fall protection equipment to a specific structure. They are often permanently attached to a building (e.g. flat roofs, sloping roofs, facades) or to infrastructure (such as machines, crane tracks, wind turbines, etc.) and guarantee sufficient strength to withstand a fall.

There are mainly two types of anchor devices: rigid anchor points with a single anchor eyelet and mobile anchor points on cable or rail (lifelines or rail securing systems). All must meet the EN795 standard.