What Restraints Are Used for Fall Protection?

Restraints are an important part of fall protection, but they’re not always used correctly. Here’s a look at some common restraints and how to use them properly.

What are restraints?

Restraints are devices that limit a worker’s distance of travel and keep him or her within a work area. Restraints are used with many different types of fall protection systems, including guardrails, safety nets and personal fall arrest systems.

What are fall protection restraints?

Fall protection restraints are devices that are used to secure a worker in place and prevent them from falling. There are many different types of restraint devices available, including body harnesses, work positioning belts, lanyards, and deceleration devices. Restraint devices are an important part of any fall protection system and can be used in a variety of applications.

What are the different types of restraints?

There are four main types of fall protection restraints

  1. Body belts
  2. Body harnesses
  3. Positioning devices
  4. Lifelines and tethers

Body belts: A body belt is a strap that goes around the waist and is secured with a buckle. Body belts can be used with a lanyard to provide fall protection, but they are not as common as they once were because they can cause serious injuries to the abdomen if used in a fall arrest situation. Body belts are the oldest type of fall restraint, but are not recommended for work near edges or on brittle roofs. A worker wearing a body belt is only protected from falls if they are facing the direction they are working.

Body harnesses distribute the force of a fall evenly around the worker’s torso and have been shown to be safer than body belts. A body harness is straps that go around the chest, shoulders, and waist, and they are secured with buckles or other mechanisms. They allow workers a greater range of motion and protect them even if they fall backward or sideways.

Positioning devices, such as positioning lanyards and beams, keep workers in a set position and do not allow them to move closer to an edge. This type of restraint is used when workers need both their hands free, such as when using power tools. A lanyard is a strap or cable that is used to connect the body belt or body harness to an anchor point. Lanyards can be made from webbing, rope, or cable, and they can be fixed or adjustable in length.

Lifelines and tethers: Lifelines and tethers connect the worker to a fixed point, such as a scaffold or crane. They allow the worker to move around while still being securely attached. These belts are typically used by window washers and roofers.

What are the benefits of using restraints?

When used properly, restraints provide fall protection by limiting your exposure to fall hazards. Restraints are an important part of a comprehensive fall protection plan, and they are most effective when used in combination with other control measures such as guardrails, nets, and work positioning systems.

Restraints have several advantages over other types of fall protection devices:

  • They prevent you from coming into contact with fall hazards.
  • They allow you to work more safely and efficiently.
  • They can be used in combination with other fall protection systems to provide a higher level of protection.
  • Restraints are less likely to cause injuries if a fall does occur because they distribute the force of the fall evenly across the body.
  • Restraints provide constant fall protection, which means that the user does not have to be constantly aware of their surroundings and can focus on their work.

However, restraints are not suitable for all work environments or activities, so it is important to carefully assess the risks associated with your specific work situation before selecting a restraint system.

What are the limitations of restraints?

Restraints are a type of fall protection that limits your body’s exposure to a fall hazard by keeping you in a designated work area. Restraints are different from personal fall arrest systems, which stop your fall completely.

But what many people might not know is that there are disadvantages to restraints.

First, you can only use them if there is a suitable railing or other structure to attach the restraint system to. Second, restraints only protect you from falls in one direction (usually perpendicular to the edge), so they will not protect you if you slip or trip and fall in another direction. Third, they can restrict the user’s movement, which can make it difficult to work in certain situations. Fourth, restraints can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Finally, restraints can only be used by one person at a time, so they are not suitable for work areas where more than one person is working on the same level.

How to properly use restraints?

Restraint is a device that is attached to an anchor point and limits the user’s movement to prevent them from falling. Restraints are often used in conjunction with other fall protection devices, such as lanyards, to provide a comprehensive system of fall protection.

When used properly, restraints can be an effective form of fall protection. However, it’s important to choose the right device for the job and to make sure that it fits properly.

Make sure that you have a plan in place and that you know what you are doing. It is also important to have someone with you who can help if things go wrong.

What are the dangers of not using restraints?

Without restraints, workers are at risk of falling from heights and being seriously injured or killed. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. OSHA estimates that there are over 200 fall fatalities and 5000 injuries each year in the United States.

Falls can happen any time a worker is not properly secured. It only takes a moment for a worker to lose his or her balance, slip on a wet or slippery surface, or be knocked off by a passing vehicle. Even if a fall doesn’t result in death, the injuries can be catastrophic. Survivors of falls often suffer from paralysis, brain damage, and other serious injuries that require lifelong care.

That’s why it’s so important for workers to use restraints whenever they are working at heights. Restraints provide workers with a margin of safety by preventing them from falling in the first place. There are many different types of restraints available, so there is no excuse for not using one when working at heights.

How to choose the right restraint for the job?

When workers are exposed to fall hazards, the employer must provide a means of fall protection that prevents or minimizes the possibility of falling. The type of fall protection system selected will be based on the specific job conditions and work activities. Different fall protection systems keep workers in position so they can work freely, prevent them from falling from a height, or arrest their falls.

Each type of system has its own advantages and disadvantages, and each can be used in a variety of workplace settings. When selecting a fall protection system, employers should consider the following factors:

  • The nature of the work being performed.
  • The falling hazards are present in the work area.
  • The location of the work area (e.g., indoors, outdoors, on scaffolds, etc.).
  • The number of workers who will be exposed to the hazard.

In Closing

Restraints are critical safety gear for anyone to wear while working at height, such as on roofs, balconies, cranes, ladders, and scaffolding. The most important thing to remember is to wear your fall restraint while on the job, as falling can cause serious injuries, even death.

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Rebecca Ross
About Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) consultant who runs her own occupational safety consultancy. She focuses on hazardous materials, warehouse safety, fire safety, lab safety, fall protection, head protection and other workplace safety topics. Learn more about Rebecca here or connect with her on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium