Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)

Definition - What does Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) mean?

A Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) is safety equipment used by personnel working at heights to protect them from accidental falls.

A PFAS is mostly used by workers who perform their duties at a certain height during the construction phase, as well as maintenance workers on towers or poles. The use of a PFAS is inevitable and essential, according to safety laws.

There are three basic requirements for the PFAS, which include an anchorage point, bodily support, and a means of connection.

Safeopedia explains Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)

A properly used protective system prevents workers from falling. An anchorage point is crucial and refers to any solid column, floor, or beam through which the main bodily support can be connected easily. For example, if a worker is performing a task on the outer side of a building, there must be a column or even a hook anchor to which the body harness can be connected through an anchorage connector. If one person is linked to that point through a body harness, then the anchorage point must be able to bear at least 5,000 lbs of force per person, as per OSHA requirements. If two people are attached to one anchorage point, that point must be able to bear at least 10,000 lbs of force.

Bodily support mainly consists of two parts: a full-body harness and body belts. A full-body harness must be made of high-quality material and covers a person's entire upper body, thighs, and pelvis to evenly distribute forces in the case of a fall. A full-body harness also has a main center-back fall-arrest attachment that appears on the backside of the person wearing it, and it attaches to the fall arrest connecting device.

D-rings are used for the connection between these two components. A means of connection is used to link the bodywear to the anchorage point. This connection must be very strong and durable to bear a person’s weight in case of an accidental fall. The means of connection also features an element that absorbs some portion of energy to reduce the amount of energy transmitted to the worker’s body in case of an accidental fall. As per OSHA requirements, a person working at a height of six feet or more must use a PFAS as a protective measure against accidental falls.

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