Safety where It matters

Safe use of Fall Arrest Equipment

Where possible working at height should be avoided, however this is not always possible, so the proper use of appropriate equipment and training is essential.

It is imperative that a Risk Assessment is carried out, the correct kit is used in the correct manner and that the wearer is confident in using it.

When Risk Assessments are carried out it is essential that :

Access to the work area ie ladders, scaffolding etc, is considered, how to move and work at height safely and evacuation measures are highlighted.

When choosing the correct piece of equipment it is important to understand what you need:

 Anchor Point

This is used to connect the connecting device to an anchorage point. The anchorage point can be scaffolding, I-beam or other point suitable for fall arrest. Anchor devices can be permanent systems or temporary such as scaffold hooks, beam glides etc.

 Connecting Device

This is used to connect the Anchor point to the wearer’s harness, this can be a personal fall limiter (PFL), shock absorbing lanyard etc

There are 2 types of connecting devices

1 Fall Restraint – prevents the wearer from falling

2 Fall Arrest – prevents the wearer from injuring themselves when a fall takes place.

 Full Body harness

A full Fall Arrest Harness must be worn for fall arrest work.


It is important that the worker should be properly trained on height safety and the equipment that they are to use. Please see our training section for more information.

Fall Clearance

It is vital to understand your working environment when choosing the correct piece of equipment.

Fall clearance distance is the maximum vertical distance that a worker could fall and still avoid contact with the lower level. So therefore it is important that the Anchor point is attached at the correct point.

Factor 2


This is when the anchorage point is at foot level, where there is no other anchor point available this can be used but is not ideal.

Factor 1


This is when the anchorage point is at shoulder level , which is good to use, however the best anchorage point is

Factor 0


this is above head height and is the best anchorage point.

Calculating Fall Clearance

When using any type of connecting device with a shock absorber it is important to understand how to determine the possible fall distance to avoid impact with lower level.

This is based on fall factor 2

2 x length of lanyard + 1.75mtr (deceleration distance for elongation of shock absorber) + 1mtr safety margin.

A PFL limits the fall distance making it suitable for use where there is not enough fall clearance.

If the anchorage point is not vertically above the worker, it may be necessary to use a second anchorage point to prevent any type of swing (pendulum effect)

Life Span of Equipment

It is a requirement of EN364 that all Fall Arrest Equipment should be serviced on an annual basis, even if it has not been used. However, Stopsave, recommend that equipment used Offshore should be serviced on a six monthly basis due to the harsh environment and the contamination that they face.

The majority of Manufacturer’s recommend that webbing/rope products do have a lifespan, 10 years from date on serial label even if they have never been used or 5 years from date items have been put into service.


BS EN Standards 

At Stopsave we adhere to the below listed standards for all the equipment we sell, service and hire.

All equipment Stopsave supply conforms to the below listed European Standards, which allow it to be used within Europe.  Equipment marked with ANSI standard means it is suitable for use with America. 

The EN Standard should not be confused with CE markings.  The CE Marking is a mandatory comformity marking for products sold in the European Economic Area.  It consits of the CE Logo and, if applicable, the four digit identification number of the notified body (test house) involved in the conformity assessment procedure. 


EN355  Personal Protective Equipment against falls from height - Energy Absorbers
EN358 Personal Protective Equipment work positioning and prevention of falls from height - belts for work         positioning and restraint and work positioning lanyards.
EN360 Personal Protective Equipment against falls from height - Retractable type fall arrestors
EN361 Personal Protective Equipment from height - Full body harness 
EN364 Personal Protective Equipment from height - test methods
EN365 Personal Protective Equipment from height - general requirements for instructions for use, maintenance,   periodic examination, repair, marking and packaging
EN795  Personal Protective Equipment against falls from height - anchor devices
BS 8405 Personal Protective Equipment falls from height - Descender devices - single hand operated descender devices for self or assisted rescue


Work at height Regulations (2005)

WAHR apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury.

WAHR require duty holders to: 

  • Avoid work at height where they can 
  • Use work equipemnt or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working;
  • Where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequence of a fall, should one occur;
  • Ensure all work at height takes account of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety; 
  • Ensure that those involved in work at height are trained and competent; 
  • Ensure that the place where work at height is done is safe; 
  • Ensure that equipment for work at height is appropriately inspected; 
  • Ensure that this risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled; 
  • Ensure that the work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in as safe a way as is reasonably practicable; 
  • Plan for emmergencies and rescue; 
  • Take account of the risk assessment carried out under regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
rbs mentor iso 9001                         fpal bsi affiliate
page image

Fast fact

In Scotland, HSE and local authorities investigate potential height safety offences but cannot instigate legal proceedings. Offences are reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal who make the decision whether to prosecute.

Share links

Share this page with others