An easy way to remember the components of a fall protection system is to think of "ABC," an acronym for Anchor, Body, and Connector. In simple terms, the fall protection system is not complete if any of the components are missing. Because there are many product types available, it's important to make sure all components are compatible.
A - The Anchor Point
The anchor strap must be mounted on a safe anchor point that supports loads of at least 15 kN. The anchor points should be considered on H or I type steel, scaffolding or other safe points on the structure. Permanent anchorage points include eyelets, horizontal lifeline systems based on cable or rail. Temporary systems include temporary lifeline systems made of strap or cable.
B - Body (Safety harness)
The safety harness is used to support and safely arrest the user in case of a fall. It protects the user before, during, and after the fall. A complete safety harness must be used in all cases of fall protection.
C - Connectors
The equipment used to connect the harness and the anchorage point:
- Anchor strap with fall arrest system: Max 2 meters, equipped with energy absorber;
- Retractable fall arrester: With retractable cable / strap and built-in energy absorber;
- Lifeline: A fall protection system that allows users to work in a risk area and safely arrest the user in case of fall;
- Positioning system: A system that provides user support, and at the same time prevents it from reaching the area with risk of falling. No shock absorber included.
All components are equally important, and should be checked periodically. The fall protection system is as resistant as the weakest component.
...and do not forget to have a well-designed rescue plan!