Don’t Settle For Mediocre Fall Arrest: Discover Better Alternatives

Fall from height accidents are among the leading causes of severe workplace injuries and fatalities in the UK, and a worker doesn’t have to fall from a crane or high scaffold to sustain a serious or life-threatening injury; even a modest fall from a shipping container can place a worker at severe risk. Therefore, investing in a reliable and efficient fall arrest system is an essential aspect of workplace safety when working at height. Traditional approaches to fall arrest, however, can often be ineffective and in some cases can also be detrimental to health.

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In this article, we’ll explain the drawbacks of traditional fall arrest harnesses and introduce a better alternative to protecting your workforce.

Understanding Fall Hazards In Workplace Safety

Traditionally, fall arrest harnesses have been the standard solution for preventing falls and minimising the risk of injuries. However, they come with several limitations:

  • All components of a fall arrest system should be compatible, which may not always be the case, especially if multiple equipment brands are used or if the correct components are not readily available.
  • Harnesses can make certain tasks more challenging, thereby increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Suspension trauma, or ‘harness-induced pathology’, is a medically recognised risk associated with wearing harnesses, which may cause a range of serious health problems such as blood pooling, unconsciousness, or even death.
  • An ill-fitting or incorrectly sized harness increases the risk of injuries and the potential for accidents.
  • Relying solely on harnesses and cranes may limit workers' access to certain areas, compromising their safety in confined spaces.

So, What Are The Alternatives To Fall Arrest Harnesses?

While numerous fall arrest harness systems are available, an innovative alternative is collective edge protection – an elegantly simple preventative system that offers several advantages over conventional options.

While fall arrest harnesses aim to limit or avoid serious injury to individual workers once a fall has already taken place, collective edge protection systems prioritise the preventative safety of the whole group– and thus eliminates the risk of fall hazards, rather than merely managing risk.

For example, our ConCEPS (Container Collective Edge Protection System) by Shearforce is specifically designed to improve safety and efficiency when working on shipping containers without restricting access for workers. ConCEPS ringfences a safer work environment by mitigating or eliminating potential fall hazards and has the added benefit of simplifying and speeding up the installation process, making it a great alternative to traditional fall arrest systems.

Evaluating The Best Fall Arrest/Safety System For Your Project

To select the most appropriate fall arrest system for your project and employees, you’ll need to understand your environment’s unique fall hazards and assess the safety needs of your workers. When working at great heights, safety harnesses are indispensable secondary precautions, despite their drawbacks. At more modest heights, however, a collective edge protection system may better align with your workplace requirements and address your industry-specific fall hazards more efficiently. 

If in doubt, consult with a safety expert or engineer to ensure that your chosen fall arrest system aligns with your sector’s relevant safety standards and regulations – and always provide adequate training to your workforce on correctly using your chosen system to maximise its effectiveness and ensure optimum safety.

For more information about ConCEPS, our cost-effective and efficient shipping container full protection solution, please contact us today.

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Image Source: Canva

A construction man on the floor being put into a recovery position by a colleague after a working at height accident using bad fall restraint systems.