Fall protection systems are planned measures used to protect workers, who are working at height, from death or injury by either arresting a freefall or eliminating the risk of a fall. They help businesses be compliant with The Work at Height Regulations 2005. There are many different types of fall protection systems designed for different work environments and industries, which we’ll outline in this article.

Vertical fall protection systems

A vertical fall protection system can be found in any vertical structure where a fall might occur, such as different forms of access ladders. These systems offer a permanent solution for areas where the risk of a fall is always present, such as:

  • Overhead cranes
  • Ships
  • Factories
  • Office blocks
  • Housing
  • Water towers
  • Wind turbines
  • Sewers
  • Water treatment centres
  • Substations.

A vertical fall protection system will often consist of:

A cable, or rail, fixed to the ladder which connects to a body harness via a travelling device. In the event of a fall, the travelling device will lock off and arrest the operator’s fall.

With this kind of system, the operator is always in fall arrest, rather than restraint, because the risk of falling is always present. Therefore, vertical fall protection systems work to arrest a freefall and reduce the impact, rather than eradicate the risk completely.


For more information on how to assess which fall protection system meets your individual needs, request a quote from the experts.

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Horizontal fall protection systems

As the name suggests, horizontal fall protection systems are used to keep people safe from falling while moving across horizontal surfaces at an angle of up to15 degrees (such as an open rooftop). They can be a permanent or temporary solution, depending on how often the area is accessed. They are appropriate to use for the following:

  • Fragile roofs
  • Overhead cranes
  • Machinery
  • Internal overhead systems.

When used in combination with personal protective equipment, a horizontal lifeline can arrest a fall, limiting the amount of force that is transferred both to the worker and the fall arrest system. This same combination of horizontal lifeline, body harness and lanyard can also serve as a fall restraint system, limiting the worker’s ability to move close enough to fall over an unprotected leading edge.

Which fall protection system should I use?

Implementing the right fall protection system depends entirely upon your individual work circumstances, which can make it difficult to decide which system is the best fit for your working environment. However, as an employer, or duty of care holder, it’s your responsibility to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to prevent serious injury. Therefore, you need to know how to choose a system that is suitable for your workplace.

For more information on how to choose the correct fall protection system for your business and how to stay compliant with the Working at Height Regulations (2005) download your free no-nonsense guide. 

Our informative and helpful guide gives you all the information that you need so you can be sure you’re making the right choice that will keep you compliant with the Working at Height regulations.

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