The Pros and Cons of Fall Restraint Systems

What is a fall restraint system? Well, it could be anything from a lifeline to a weighted guardrail, like the one shown.

The purpose of a fall restraint system is to eliminate the potential of a fall from an elevated surface. These systems include lifeline systems, guardrails, and lanyard tie-off systems.

Commonly used systems include:

Guardrails

A barrier installed preventing workers from accessing edges where falls from elevated surfaces could occur. Guardrails are a preferred fall prevention solution by customers looking to access roofs without requiring additional Personal Protective Equipment- “PPE”. Skyline can produce and install a variety of custom guardrail solutions commonly installed near the edge of mezzanines, roof edges, and around roof hatches.

Pros: Offers complete coverage of all areas within the barriers, no PPE required, can be installed without roof penetration, no annual inspection required.

Con: Requires a lot of material, may be less aesthetically pleasing than other solutions

HORIZONTAL LIFELINES

Cable system where users connect to a cable limiting the user’s coverage from exceeding the edge of an elevated surface. Comprising structural connections, lifeline connection, horizontal lifeline, a fall arrest harness, a lanyard, and in most systems a pass thru trolley. These systems can provide users with a large range of coverage without users having to disconnect and re-connect to the system offering a convenient fall prevention solution. System is commonly preferred over guardrails when customers are looking to limit the amount of material on a roof.

Pros: can offer continuous coverage of extensive areas, limited amount of material

Cons: Requires annual inspection, it requires PPE (harnesses/ lanyards)

LANYARD TIE-OFFS

These consist of tie-offs near roof edges and commonly consist of anchors already installed for suspended maintenance or other engineered single point anchorage systems.

Pros: dual purpose suspended maintenance and fall prevention (not at the same time)

Cons: not a continuous system, requires harness and double lanyards or multiple SRL’s for use or to be placed over 15 feet back from edge, to allow attachment before breeching the 15-foot edge diameter working radius.

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