Fall arrest systems

30 October 2018

In 2017/18, 35 fatal injuries to workers were due to falls from a height. According to HSE, falls from height still remain the main cause of fatal accident for workers, with the construction industry held accountable for the highest number. 

Bradley Markham, director at Bull Products, believes that companies need to shift away from alternative methods such as birdcage scaffolding and guardrail systems to protect workers from falls from height, and start enhancing site safety by investing in air-filled fall arrest bags. 

He shares his top reasons to make the switch:

 Minimises risk of injury 

The HSE states that a tower scaffold is recommended as one way to prevent a fall when working at height. However, many are poorly erected and misused, leading to a number of accidents each year. 

If a worker was to fall from height from a tower scaffold, they are likely to suffer from a major injury, or even worse, death, as a result of landing on a hard surface such as concrete. 

Fall arrest bags minimise the risk of injury as they are designed to provide a safe cushioned landing, absorbing the weight of a fall without causing major injury. 

Meets the needs of housebuilders 

Fall arrest systems have been around since the late 1990s due to the large number of accidents with falls in the construction industry. The house building market had a high track record of accidents from contractors working on floor joist and roof trusses, where they had no protection from falling through one or two floors onto a concrete slab. 

Fall arrest bags have been designed and tested to mitigate injury from falls from height and meet the needs of house builders. These types of systems can be used in timber framed developments, concrete buildings, traditional brick-built properties, scaffolding, lorry beds and much more. 

Makes room for harness free

Using fall arrest bags, workers can confidently work harness-free – giving them greater freedom to move around and handle tools and materials. 

Ease of installation and cost-effectiveness

For extra practicality, fall arrest bags are prefilled with pockets of air, making them far easier and quicker to install than birdcage scaffolding. They also provide a cost-saving solution. 

Installation time for a plot takes approximately 15 minutes using the air cushion systems. On the other hand, it takes hours of labour to erect scaffolding or decking systems.

In addition, basic practical training and a simple theory test covers the installation method and sign off of fall arrest systems in contrast to that of a scaffolders qualification.

The  Impact-Bull Fall Arrest System has a fall arrest height of 3.1m from finished floor level to working height. This is a higher fall rating than any other fall arrest system on the market, according to Bull Products. The system can protect workers working in properties with higher ceilings, revolutionising the way construction at height operates, the company adds.