Fall Arrest vs. Fall Restraint

This post was written by Rigid Lifelines, a provider of fall protection and fall arrest systems. They provide fall safety solutions to a variety of different industries.

The terminology surrounding fall protection systems may seem complex, but it is important to understand the basic systems and terms to choose the fall protection solution best suited to a customer’s needs.  For example, the terms “fall arrest” and “fall restraint” may at first glance seem indistinguishable. Both fall under the rubric of “fall protection,” but there are important distinctions.

The main difference between arrest and restraint is an “arrest” occurs after a person freefalls through space. In other words, the system stops a worker’s fall that has already occurred, preventing impact at a lower level. In a fall restraint system, however, the worker is restrained from reaching a fall hazard. In such cases, the fall restraint would typically be provided by a fixed-length lanyard and a body harness or body belt. The lanyard acts as a leash, preventing the worker from reaching the leading edge.

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