Fall Protection Glossary

Anchorage: A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices.

Anchorage Connector: The component by which the connecting device is coupled to the anchorage, such as a beam anchor, cross-arm strap, D-bolt, hook anchor, tripod, davit or other secure device that serves as a point of attachment for lifelines, lanyard or deceleration devices.

Arresting Force: The force transmitted to the body when a fall is arrested.

Average Arrest Force: The average of every force reading over 500 lbs taken at 1/1000 second intervals during a simulated fall arrest test prescribed in ANSI Z359. This force is more appropriate to consider when conducting a static analysis or performing static proof load testing.

Body Harness: A design of straps which is secured about a person in a manner to distribute fall arresting forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system.

Competent Person: A person who is capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous conditions in the personal fall arrest system or any component thereof, as well as in their application and use with related equipment.

Connecting Device: A device used to link the body support component of the system to the anchorage connector, such as a shock absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lanyard (SRL)

Connector: A mechanism or device used to join together components of a personal fall arrest system; a carabiner for example, or parts of a component within the system, such as a D-ring on a body harness.

Deceleration Device: Any mechanism, such as a rope grab, ripstitch lanyard, specially woven lanyard or automatic self retracting lanyard, which serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limits the energy imposed on the worker during fall arrest.  

Deceleration Distance: The additional vertical distance a falling person travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate.  It is measured as the distance between the location of a person’s body harness attachment point at the moment of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the worker comes to a full stop.

D-Ring: An integral “D” shaped connector commonly found on body harnesses and some anchorage connectors which allows for attaching a connecting device (lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device.)

Enclosed Track: Designed for easy movement, the enclosed track keeps dirt and dust from settling on the rolling surface, allowing the trolley to move smoothly and remain centered directly over the worker creating a shorter fall distance and reducing the risk of swing fall injuries.  

Free Fall: The act of falling before the personal fall arrest system begins to apply force to arrest the fall.

Free Fall Distance: The vertical displacement that a person falls before the fall arrest system begins to arrest the fall.Horizontal Lifeline: A term used to describe a variety horizontal fall protection systems.

Leading Edge: The edge of a floor, roof, or formwork for a floor or other walking/working surface (such as the deck) which changes location as additional floor, roof, decking, or formwork sections are placed, formed, or constructed. A leading edge is considered to be an "unprotected side and edge" during periods when it is not actively and continuously under construction.

Lower Level: An area or surface to which a person can fall

Maximum Arresting Force: The peak force on the body during arrest of a fall by the fall arrest system.  Also known as peak fall arrest force.

Personal Fall Arrest System: A system used to arrest a worker in a fall from a working level.  It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body belt or body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these.   

Qualified Person: one with a recognized degree or professional certificate and extensive knowledge and experience in the subject field who is capable of design, analysis, evaluation and specifications in the subject work, project, or product.

Self-Retracting Lifeline/ Lanyard: A deceleration device which contains a drum wound line which may be slowly extracted from, or retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal employee movement, and which, after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum and arrests the fall.

Shock Absorber: A component of a personal fall arrest system which allows dissipation of energy by extending deceleration distance reducing fall arrest forces.

Shock Absorbing Lanyard: A specially designed lanyard that elongates during a fall to significantly reduce fall arresting forces.

Suspension Trauma (Orthostatic Intolerance): A condition that may occur when a person falls and remains suspended both vertical and sedentary for a period of time.  Blood pools in the veins of the legs, which could result in unconsciousness.  If a person is not rescued quickly, permanent damage and possibly death may result.

Swing Fall Hazard: A pendulum-like motion that can result from moving away from a fixed anchorage, causing a worker to swing back toward the attachment point and into an obstacle.

Total Fall Clearance Distance: The maximum vertical distance that a worker could potentially fall and still avoid contact with a lower level. - Fall Clearance Calculations

Total Fall Distance: The maximum vertical distance between a full body harness attachment point and the lowest extremity of the body before and after the fall is arrested including lanyard extension and/or deceleration distance.