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Falling while working at height represents the number one cause of death in the construction industry and the number two cause in general industry. Fall prevention may be handled in a number of ways. Scaffolds, handrails, barriers and movable platforms can be constructed to protect workers employed at heights. Fall arrest systems involve the safe stopping of a person already falling.
Where preventative devices are impractical, personal fall protection equipment such as full body harnesses, lanyards and retractable lifelines may be used. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires personal fall protection for workers at various heights, depending on the job.
A Personal Fall Arrest (PFA) System is comprised of three (3) key components – anchorage connector; body wear; and connecting device. While a lot of focus has been given to anchorage connectors and body wear (full-body harnesses), when discussing fall protection, the connecting device (a shock-absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline) between these two components actually bears the greatest fall forces during a fall.