As an employee who has to work at heights, you’re constantly aware that you could be injured in a fall. Maybe you are a window washer, a roofer or a cable repairman. You have to use ladders frequently, or you have to work in elevated positions, and that increases your odds of injury.
What you’re wondering is if you need to set up a fall arrest system and if that system can prevent you from being hurt on the job. It’s important to have the right personal protection equipment, so you need to know how this works.
You can still be injured
First of all, it is important for your employer to give you the protection equipment you need to operate within the law and to be safe. This may include a fall arrest system. Some workers need to wear harnesses that are connected to anchor points or winch systems through ropes or nylon straps.
But a fall arrest system is merely supposed to catch a worker as they fall. It does not prevent that fall from occurring. This means that you could still be injured.
For example, if a worker is wearing a chest harness while working on a roof, and they slip and fall, the distance they fall depends on how much slack there is in the system. They could theoretically slide over the side of the roof before the harness catches them. If this happens, they could definitely be injured as they swing into the building. The injuries will be far less severe than if they would have fallen to the ground, but that doesn’t mean they’re not hurt.
As you can see, you can be injured on the job, even with protection systems in place. You must know how to seek workers’ compensation.