Nelson & Associates :: Falls :: Falls from Elevation & the 5 Types of Fall Protection Systems

Falls from Elevation and
the Five Types of Fall Protection Systems

Illustration of guardrails used as a fall protection system

Guardrails and Handrails

Passive restraint allows the user to work or transit between locations while remaining protected within the guardrail/handrail.

Illustration of fall arrest system used for fall protection

Fall Arrest

A fall arrest system will allow for a free fall, but will prevent the worker from striking the ground or a lower object while limiting the arresting forces.

Illustration of suspension system used for fall protection


Suspension systems are designed to lower and support a worker while allowing a hands-free work environment.

Illustration of positioning/restraint system used for fall protection


A fall restraint system is a travel restriction system that stops the worker before they reach the edge. A positioning system is a system that allows a worker to lean back and work hands free.

Rescue and Escape

A fall arrest system is not complete unless the user of the system has accounted for a means of rescue or escape. Confined space retrieval, automatic and manual descent control escape systems and rope access retrieval systems are all methods of rescue that workers must consider before doing the job.

Graphics used with permission from Safety Connection, Inc., fall protection and rescue specialists.

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