Personal fall arrest systems, when used, shall:

  • limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 KN) when used with a body harness;
  • be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level;
  • bring an employee to a complete stop and limit the maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and,
  •  have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.
  • Shall be used only according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Body belts shall not be worn for personal fall arrest.

An effective personal fall arrest system (FAS) consists of three parts: Anchorage, Body Harness, and Connector. This appendix highlights some important information for personal fall arrest systems.


  •  Anchorages selected for fall arrest systems shall have a strength capable of sustaining static loads applied in the directions permitted by the system of at least: 5,000 pounds (22.2KN) per employee for non-certified anchorages, or two times the maximum arresting force for certified anchorages (designed by a qualified person) The anchorage can be a single point anchor or a vertical or horizontal lifeline system. The means of connection may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or a suitable combination of these.
  •   When more than one fall arrest system is attached to an anchorage, the anchorage shall be capable of sustaining the aforementioned loads multiplied by the number of systems attached to the anchorage.
  •  Anchorages used for attachment of personal fall arrest systems must be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms, and must support at least 5000 lbs per user attached; or be designed, installed, and used as part of a complete fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two, under the supervision of a qualified person.
  •   Design, selection, and installation of certified fall arrest anchorages shall include determining a safe location where the Authorized Person can connect to them
  •   Factors to consider include:
    • the forces generated by arresting a fall, 
    • total existing and anticipated loading, 
    • load path or direction, 
    • structural member strengths, 
    • connection and support strengths, stability, clearance requirements, 
    • swing fall, 
    • rescue deflection of the system, 
    • effect of edge abrasion to the system,
    • the impact on the edge affected by a fall, 
    • and the impact on the structural members to which the fall arrest system is attached. (Z359

When designing, selecting, and certifying a fall arrest anchorage, the qualified person shall include limitations on the use of the system in fall protection procedures. (Z359  

Body Harnesses

  •    Full body harnesses must be used at all times for Fall Arrest Systems. The use of body belts is not permitted.
  • The full body harness shall be equipped with a means for attaching the harness to other components of a personal fall protection system.
  •  The maximum arresting force for a worker in a body harness weighing up to 310 lbs shall not be exposed to a maximum arresting force in excess of 1,800 lbs (8 KN).
  • Only full body harnesses that have a label specifying that they meet the requirements of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the American National Standards Institute/American Society of Safety Engineer’s (ANSI/ASSP Z359) may be used.
  • Load-bearing straps will have a minimum width of 1-5/8 inches and develop a breaking strength of not less than 5,000 pounds.
  • The fall arrest attachment point on the full body harness shall be integrally attached and located at the wearer’s upper back, between the shoulder blades (dorsal D-ring).
  • Suspension trauma straps shall/should be attached to the harness to provide short-term relief from the effects of orthostatic intolerance.
  • Harnesses and other fall protection components shall be used only for employee protection and not to hoist materials.


  • Lanyards shall be attached to employees using personal fall arrest systems, as follows:
    • The attachment point of a body harness shall be located in the center of the wearer’s back near the shoulder level, or above the wearer’s head. If the free fall distance is limited to less than 20 inches (50.8 cm), the attachment point may be located in the chest position; and
  • Ropes and straps (webbing) used in lanyards, lifelines, and strength components of body harnesses shall be made from synthetic fibers or wire rope.
  • Ropes, belts, harnesses, and lanyards shall be compatible with their hardware.
  • Lifelines and lanyards shall be protected against cuts, abrasions, burns from hot work operations, and deterioration by acids, solvents, and other chemicals.
  • Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to each use for mildew, wear, damage, and other deterioration. Defective components shall be removed from service.
  • Personal fall arrest systems and components subjected to impact loading shall be immediately removed from service and shall not be used again for employee protection until inspected and determined by a qualified person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.
  • The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall ensure that employees are able to rescue themselves. Working alone at height is prohibited.
  • Lanyards and other personal fall arrest system components shall be used only for employee fall protection and not to hoist materials.


When vertical lifelines are used, each employee shall be provided with a separate lifeline.

  • Vertical lifelines and lanyards shall have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds (22.24 KN).
  • Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that automatically limit free fall distances to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.34 KN) applied to a self-retracting lifeline or lanyard with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
  • Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which do not limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less, ripstitch lanyards and tearing and deforming lanyards shall be capable of sustaining a minimum static tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.24 KN) applied to the device when they are in the fully extended position.
  • Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person, and shall only be used as part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two.


  • Connectors shall be made of drop forged, pressed, or formed steel or shall be made of materials with equivalent strength.
  • Connectors shall have a corrosion-resistant finish, and all surfaces and edges shall be smooth to prevent damage to the interfacing parts of the system.
  • D-rings and snaphooks shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.24 KN).
  • D-rings and snaphooks shall be proof-tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds (16 KN) without cracking, breaking, or being permanently deformed.
  • Snaphooks shall be sized to be compatible with the member to which they are connected to prevent unintentional disengagement of the snaphook caused by depression of the snaphook keeper by the connected member, or shall be of a locking type that is designed and used to prevent disengagement of the snap-hook by contact of the snaphook keeper by the connected member.
  • Snaphooks, unless of a locking type designed and used to prevent disengagement from the following connections, shall not be engaged:
    • Directly to webbing, rope or wire rope;
    • To each other;
    • To a D-ring to which another snaphook or other connector is attached;
    • To a horizontal lifeline; or
    • To any object that is incompatibly shaped or dimensioned in relation to the snaphook such that unintentional disengagement could occur by the connected object being able to depress the snaphook keeper and release itself.