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Falls happen.

A person can always fall through a gap or weak surface, fall over an edge, or trip or slip down a slope, no matter how careful one is. And there is no such thing as a safe distance to fall.

If there is any risk of a fall, consideration should be given to clearance distances and the pendulum effect. Australian and New Zealand Standards requires that when using a fall arrest system, the maximum fall arrest force that a person can be exposed to is 6kN (611kg).

Falls from height represent 14% of all fatalities in the workplace in Australia

•    65% of these fatalities were in the construction industry
•    Most fatal falls are from roofs, scaffolding and ladders
(Source: Safe work Australia - Notified Fatalities Statistical Report 2010-2011.)

Writing a fall protection plan helps prevent fall-related injuries. Hazards need to be identified, assessed, evaluated, then eliminated or controlled. Some of the questions that should be asked: What hazards are involved with the task and who could be affected? What instructions (including rescue) need to be written? What equipment needs to be used? What training is necessary? Make sure a competent person performs the risk assessment.

The further you fall, the faster your speed of descent and the higher the total forces that the safety system needs to absorb to prevent injuries. The further you fall, the more likely you are to hit the ground, or swing into a wall or hit the nearest obstacle below you.
You must be connected to a structure using your safety system at all times - using double-action or triple-action connectors on your shock absorbing system helps prevent metal components from disconnecting. Do not disconnect from one safety system, unless you  have connected to another or are in a secure location. The anchor/connection point you connect to must be very strong, and the structure should be free from burrs and sharp edges that might damage your equipment when in use.

A belt should never be used for fall arrest or limited free fall - belts are no longer recognised by Australian and New Zealand Standards as a legitimate fall protection device.  A harness is better for any work situation where you can slip, trip, slide or fall. A full body harness distributes the fall arrest forces better around the body when fitted and adjusted correctly. Don’t forget to inspect and maintain your height safety gear.

It is too late to plan a rescue after somebody has fallen and they are suspended in mid-air. The ability for a worker to hang in a fall arrest harness after a fall is limited if they are unconscious. Most standards worldwide recognise the need for a timely rescue within 15-30 minutes. But remember: Safety first - do not put yourself at risk to save another person.

From: Every Worker’s Guide to Height Safety Essentials by Capital Safety.



PROTECTA® gear provides a combination of practical affordability and simple compliance.​