4th October 2016

Fall protection is a necessary feature of a wide range of professions. In order to provide a better idea of what fall protection entails, we set out below a glossary of some of the most popular terms that are used in the industry and provide a brief explanation of their meaning.

Active Fall Protection

This is a system that requires employees to be trained in and actively use some means of fall protection whilst carrying out their employment functions.

Anchorage Point

A secure, stable point to which lifelines, lanyards or other types of fall prevention or deceleration device can be attached.

Body Belt

A body belt is a secure strap that is used to attach the employee, from the waistband, to a lanyard, lifeline or other type of deceleration device.

Body Harness

A set of straps that attach around various parts of the body with the intention that the forces caused to the body by the arrest of a fall are spread evenly to minimise injury.


A device that is employed to couple the various components of a personal fall arrest System. These include lanyards, lifelines and other deceleration devices.

Controlled Access Zone

An area, within the workplace, where certain works can be undertaken without a fall protection system and to which employee access is controlled.

Deceleration Device

A device that is designed to reduce the amount of energy produced by the arrest of a fall, thereby limiting the impact on the body of the employee during the fall.

Deceleration Distance

The distance that the subject of a fall will travel from when the fall arrest mechanism begins to operate, until stopping. In other words, it is the distance from the site of the body harness attachment point, when the fall arrest forces start, to its location when the fall comes to a complete halt.

Fall Arrest System

Fall arrest is a type of fall protection that is dedicated to preventing a falling employee from striking the ground or an object at a lower level. Fall-Pac are leading manufacturers of fall arrest systems.


Designed to prevent, rather than arrest, a fall, a guard rail system typically consists of a set of horizontal and vertical guardrails that serve to protect an employee from falling from a workstation or thoroughfare.


A connector, which is made up of a flexible rope or strap with a connecting mechanism at both ends, which is used to connect an employee’s body belt or harness to an anchorage, lifeline or other deceleration device.


A mechanism comprising a flexible line that connects to an anchorage, in the case of a vertical lifeline or at each end, in the case of a horizontal lifeline. It is employed to connect other constituents of a fall arrest system to an anchorage.

Positioning Device System

Consisting of a belt or harness, a positioning device system is designed to provide support to an employee whilst working on a vertical surface, such as a wall.

Rope Grab

A deceleration mechanism that travels on a lifeline and, through the friction that is created from a fall, engages and locks, thereby arresting a fall.

Self-Retracting Lifeline and Lanyard

Both of these are forms of deceleration device, comprising a line that is wound within a drum, which can be extracted or retracted under only a small amount of tension whilst the employee is working but which locks automatically when triggered by a fall.


Another type of connector, which is made up of a hook-shaped component, which is normally closed. It can be opened to receive an object but will automatically close to retain it.


A low, protective barrier or rail that is designed to prevent an employee from falling and to guard against objects falling from height.

Warning Line System

A form of barrier that is positioned on the roof to provide a warning to employees that are close to an area of the roof that is unprotected. The system indicates a designated area where work can be carried out without using any guardrails, body belts or safety nets.

Need advice about whether Fall-Pac could protect or train your workers?

Want to know how else we can protect your business from the risks of working at height? Talk with the team – 0800 652 8099 | sales@fall-pac.com

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