Fundamental Considerations for Choosing the Right Fall Protection System For Your Firm

2021-03-02 加盛工程

In Hong Kong, the construction industry registers a higher number of occupational injuries than any other industry every year. Accidental falls remain at the top of the causes of debilitating injuries and fatalities in the construction sector. All construction firms in Hong Kong are required to have a robust fall protection system to prevent accidental falls.


Causes of Accidental Falls

Some common causes of falls in construction sites include:

  • Lack of toe boards, guardrails, or mid-rails on open sides of scaffolds
  • Electrocuting resulting from improper electrical connections
  • Collapse of scaffolding 
  • Scaffold tip-overs 
  • Improperly installed ladders
  • Tripping hazards on roofs
  • Presence of slipping hazards that cause slick surfaces
  • Unguarded ledges, skylights, or elevator shafts 


When falls occur, they often lead to serious injuries, or even worse, deaths. In effect, constructors need to put in place safety measures ranging from ringlock rosette covers to coupler protective covers and foam paddings.


Choosing the Right Fall Protection System 

When selecting the right construction fall safety system for your needs, it is critical to understand compliance and regulatory standards. The Labour Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) ensure that your firm adheres to Cap. 591 and Cap. 509 legislation. 


Maintaining worksite safety and preventing yourself from legal issues that can occur because of occupational injuries or deaths starts with selecting the right fall protection equipment. 

With our experience in the construction industry, we know that a system that will protect workers from falls should:

  • Contain robust anchorage points that enable a connection between anchorage and a worker 
  • Comprise guardrails, safety gates, and toe boards 
  • Comprise lanyard systems attached to a worker's tool kit
  • Involve the use of safety bodywear such as construction safety harnesses
  • Use connecting devices such as lifelines that provide a connection between anchorage and bodywear 

Let's discuss anchorage systems, lifelines, and personal fall arrest systems as the primary elements of an effective fall protection system. 


Horizontal and Vertical Lifelines

Lifelines allow workers to move vertically or horizontally on work surfaces with great safety. Lifelines facilitate the connection between protective bodywear and anchorages. Vertical lifelines allow workers to move up and down while horizontal lifelines allow workers to move sideways.

Some of these lifelines are self-retractable lifelines, enabling the system to lock automatically when it detects sudden movement (fall). 


Anchorage Systems 

A robust anchorage system, which can be fixed or mobile, is only as strong as its components. Choosing an appropriate anchor is essential in protecting workers from fall hazards. The anchor straps are attached to anchor points, usually scaffolds or other safe points. Anchorage connectors including lifelines, tie-off adaptors, roof anchors, concrete anchors, steel anchors, fall arresters, and positioning systems should be chosen properly depending on the type of construction work. 


Fall Protection Harnesses 

A fall protection harness is a shielding gear used alongside fall restraints, fall arrests, and work positioning gear. These systems allow workers to work on an elevated vertical surface such as a window sill or a wall with both hands free. 


When choosing a protection harness equipment and connectors, consider the following:

  • The webbing patterns and quality of stitching 
  • Padding and adjustability: well-padded and adjustable straps promote functionality and comfort
  • The maximum weight the harness can support
  • Availability of safety accessories and presence of lanyard keepers 


You can choose positioning, retrieval, or suspension harnesses. When not using personal fall arrest equipment, positioning harnesses come in handy. They provide freedom of movement while allowing the worker to work from a fixed position. We recommend retrieval harnesses when workers are working in confined spaces. Suspension harnesses usually come with built-in seats to allow the users to work with both hands. 


While knowing the right fall protection system is fundamental, it is more important to acquire these safety systems from certified and accredited vendors in Hong Kong. 


FARS Engineers, with many years of experience in the construction industry, has worked with different fall protection equipment, anchors, and connectors. Contact us today so that we can work you to select the right harnesses, and caps for you.