Types of Height safety Equipment
There are many types of height
The fall restraint system;
This is probably the most commonly used height safety equipment and comes in the form of a full body harness worn over the clothes. Attached to the harness will be a limited length of lanyard/safety line which will be hooked onto a secure anchor point in a position so as to stop the worker from falling over the edge of where they are working. More than one of these can be used as there are usually multiple anchor points on the harness; this also enables the wearer to work in different positions more easily, though due to the limited length of the lanyard, these systems can restrict the movement of the wearer which is not always appropriate for the type of job, so a fall restraint system may be used instead because they allow more movement.
The fall arrest system;
With fewer restrictions on movement, fall arrest systems are ideal where the wearer needs to move around more freely to get the job done; they work by catching the wearer if they do fall, and so the safety line must be of the correct length so as to catch them in mid air, not allowing them to hit the ground. These systems can also be used to suspend the wearer in mid-air to work on awkward jobs.
Other equipment available to assist in height safety are fall arrest and fall retrieval blocks. Fall arrest blocks are retractable lines and allow the distance from the anchor point to be changed at will, though should always be kept under tension. Rescue blocks work very similar, but are designed so that if the wearer should fall, the rescue block enables another person to get to them easier to rescue them quickly, which can be vital, as the harness applies pressure on the main arteries etc at the top of the thighs and so could inhibit circulation if not rescued swiftly, leading to other complications.
Force factors and deceleration rates also play an important role in the safety of the wearer. Force factors; meaning the force applied to the user and the structure, transmitted through the deceleration rate when a fall occurs, these forces are calculated in kilo Newton’s, ( kN); and so the system needs a certain amount of deceleration distance built in, this can be done by including a shock absorber lanyard, for example.
Calculating the possible fall distance:
When using a shock absorbing lanyard you will need to know how to calculate the possible fall distance to avoid contact with the ground/lower level. This calculation gives the minimum fall distance between the anchorage point of the lanyard (fall factor 2) and the lower level.
This is calculated by allowing for;
Twice the length of the lanyard to allow for the length of the lanyard and the height of the worker).
+1.75mtrs deceleration distance to allow for elongation of the shock absorber and any give in the lanyard.
+1mtr safety margin.
TOTAL=6.75mtr clearance required using a 2 meter lanyard.
Lifting Gear Direct can supply all main components for specific jobs carried out at heights, to make things easier they are supplied in kit form with all you need, for example, there are construction workers kits, positioning kits, scaffolder’s kits and roofer’s kits, plus many more, take a look at our Height Safety page, or give our team a call if you can’t see what you are looking for.
For more information regarding height safety please go to www.hse.gov.uk