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What is Fall Arrest?

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Defining Fall Arrest

Fall arrest refers to any system that mitigates the result of a fall. This is done by either limiting the distance of the fall or limiting the impact that would result from the fall.

When it comes to planning working at height, duty holders should refer to the Hierarchy of Fall Protection. The hierarchy lays out the different levels of protection which should be considered when planning for  working at height.

Hierarchy of Fall Protection:

  • Work from the ground if at all possible.

  • If there is no alternative to working at height, use equipment to prevent a fall.

  • Use specialised equipment to minimise the distance and the possible consequences of a fall.

Only when all previous levels can't be met should fall arrest be considered. The reason fall arrest is considered to be the last resort is once a body is in free-fall the potential for injury increases drastically. 

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It is easy to dismiss the risks associated with low level heights as negligible, but falls from any height can result in serious injury. In order to avoid injuries, when construction or maintenance work is being carried out, proper protection should be planned and implemented.


However, the correct fall arrest system needs to be chosen to ensure maximum efficiency and value. Permanent systems such as safety line provide a long term & effective solution for ensuring fall protection. However these systems are not always feasible or efficient. For example, when working on house building the need for height protection is only temporary (for duration of work) and the risk area changes as work is completed. In this instance a quick and temporary system would be more appropriate such as a fall arrest bag, such as AirDeck. Additionally, since AirDeck is, as the name suggests, predominately filled with air, the mobility & flexibility of the system is superior to it's "bean bag" alternatives.

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