Fall Restraint Vs. Fall Arrest
Let’s take a stroll down the hypothetical boardwalk.
Let’s say you’re working in an elevated area. And let’s say this elevated area has a leading edge. And let’s say that falling off this leading edge would result in a 50 foot drop to certain death. Okay. Now let’s say you’re exuberant about the breath which enters your lungs each and every morning. And let’s say your excitement for tomorrow motivates your actions today. And let’s say that it’s for these reasons that you wish to take a rain check on the 50 foot gravity ride. And it’s for these same reasons you want to altogether scrap your rendez-vous with the pavement.
So hypothetically, in the case of what’s detailed above, would you:
A: Install a Fall Arrest System
B: Install a Fall Restraint System
Sure this hypothetical is rigged because the only wrong answer is not answering. But for those unfamiliar with the terms above, let me explain what each system entails.
Versatile’s Paper Definition:
A fall arrest system is a system which ceases the descent of a worker in the advent of a fall.
A fall restraint system is a system which prevents a worker’s center of gravity from reaching a fall hazard.
Versatile’s Real-World Definition:
Fall Arrest System: In the event of a fall, gravity will yank you downward at a maximum speed of 125mph until you’ve fallen no more than 11.5 feet (Hopefully your engineers did their math). At which point, your fall arrest system, e.g. your harness – seen here (Note the proximity of the straps to your reproductive organs) will yank your body to a halt with forces equal to 1,200lbs. Yes, 1,200lbs. Yes, that’s 1,200lbs of force against your body. Painful? Yes, but not necessarily deadly. Not yet at least because now that your fall has been arrested you’re stuck hanging.
Hopefully, your company has an easily executable rescue plan to rectify your problem. If they don’t, the following happens…
While you’re hanging, your harness is cutting off circulation to your lower body. As this occurs, your veins start to pool blood in your groin. This breaks the cycle of blood flow within your body. Fearing oxygen depletion, your brain signals your heart to pump more blood. Your heart rate now increases. As your heart rate increases, more blood is pumped into the pool around your groin. When this increase in blood flow fails to circulate back to the brain, i.e. fails to remedy the body’s predicament, the brain will abruptly slow the body’s heart rate. Your blood pressure now falls. And when your brain fails to receive its necessary oxygen, you faint. Then, your kidneys fail. And soon your heart and brain do too. Within a half hour of your arrested fall, you’re dead.*
Fall Restraint System: There is no, nor will there be an event of a fall. You simply cannot fall. The system will not allow it.
Well that’s the difference between the two.
What do you choose? A or B?
Versatile Systems, Inc.
*Yes, yes, yes. We know it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s true that recent harness developments do option detachable step ladders to facilitate blood circulation in the advent of a fall, allowing the faller/fallee/victim of gravitational pull to remove pressure from the veins by standing up. But they are not mandatory, nor do they stake claim to the majority of the harness market.