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Fall prevention vs. fall arrest on the job

| Nov 13, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Falling from heights is an issue in many occupations. It’s a risk for warehouse workers who have to walk on catwalks or go up steep staircases. It’s a risk for construction workers on a high-rise or a roof. Even simple jobs like doing residential electrical work can bring on the risk of a ladder fall, as can painting a home, washing windows, cleaning gutters and much more.

When talking about these issues, people often talk about reducing injury risks as if there is only one way to do it. The truth is that there are many different tactics. They may approach the issue from different directions, but they both seek to save lives and limit injuries. Today, we’ll talk about two of them.

Fall prevention

The first option is a system that prevents a fall from happening initially. Perhaps the most common example is a guardrail. A worker who faces a fall risk may be placed behind a guardrail so that, should they slip or trip, they can grab the rail and avoid the fall.

Fall arrest

A fall arrest system still allows the fall to take place. The worker enters empty space and begins falling. This could mean just entering a six-foot drop off of a lift or entering a thousand-foot drop off of a skyscraper. Either way, the worker starts falling and then the system catches them, keeping them from hitting the ground.

Perhaps the most common example of this is a harness system. Workers can wear chest harnesses that clip into protection systems at heights. If they fall, they still fall for the length of the rope, which may only be a few feet, but the line catches them above the ground. 

Your options

Both types of fall protection systems play a crucial role in keeping you safe on the job, but injuries still can and do happen. Have you gotten injured in a fall? You need to know what legal options you have and how to get proper compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages and more.

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