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Fall Arrest Devices – What Are They?

Type 2 Fall Arrest Device

A fall arrest device is a self locking device that functions to arrest a person’s fall. There are three distinct categories of fall arrest devices. They are the Type 1, the Type 2 and the Type 3 and have very different functions.

Fall arrest devices must meet the requirements of AS/NZS 1891.3. As most manufacturing of these devices occurs overseas they are rarely certified to the standard.  Suppliers instead rely on Section 1.6 Acceptance of Material Supplied From Overseas. This section accepts devices made to European standards EN253-1, EN 253-2 and EN360.   

Type 1 Fall Arrest Devices

A Type 1 Fall Arrest device is a device designed to attach onto a rope, rail or anchorage line to arrest a fall.  They travel in the direction of the line (or rail) and lock when loaded arresting the fall. The Type 1 can be removable or fixed depending on user requirements. A removable Type 1 will allow attachment of the the device to the rope at any point while the fixed device eliminates the accidental removal of the device from the rope while in use.  

Rope grabs, rope clamps and other look alike devices are available. Always check the instructions and labelling of your devices. The label on your Type 1 device must have EN353-1 for rail and EN353-2 for flexible line marked on it. This ensures that it will have the strength and perform as intended when arresting a fall. 

A Type 1 fall arrest device is typically used to provide safety in a roofers kit or as a flexible anchorage line on a ladder.

Type 2 Fall Arrest Devices

Type 2 devices are also known as Self Retracting Lifelines (SRL), Personal Fall Limiters (PFL) or Inertia Reels. They have a spring loaded anchorage line that retracts as the user moves towards the device and lengthens as they move away.  In the event of a fall the internal mechanism brakes and locks the anchorage line arresting the fall. Working much like your seatbelt in your car.

To meet AS/NZS 1891.3, Type 2 devices must comply with the standard EN 360. EN360 is the European standard that governs the manufacture of these items.

There are three distinct categories of fall arrest devices.
They are the Type 1, the Type 2 and the Type 3 and have very
different functions.

Testing to EN360 ensures that the device does not allow the user to be subject to more than 6kN force. Testing also dictates that the device must  lock off within a certain distance. For EN360 and ANSI Z359.14 Class B the distance is 1400mm. For ANSI Z359.14 Class A the distance is 610mm. This means the Type 2 devices are suitable for limited fall clearance applications.

The Type 2 Fall arrest devices come with wire rope or webbing anchorage lines in a variety of lengths. Most are only certified for use overhead. Several are specified for horizontal use with special conditions. Sharp edge rated models can be used for leading edge work where there is a risk of severing the anchorage line. 

There is a requirement for periodic recalibration of the device’s internal mechanism. This varies from device to device and the manufacturers authorised repair agent must perform this service. Recalibration ensures the device locks with its required parameters.

A Type 2 fall arrest device is usually used on overhead anchorage systems or in MEWP’s to limit fall clearance requirement when working at low height.

Type 3 Fall Arrest Devices

A Type 3 fall arrest device is simply a Type 2 device with the inclusion of a retrieval function. These are ideal for use in confined space access and rescue. Use the retracting function to protect against a fall when accessing or exiting. In the event of a rescue you can use the retrieval function of the device to winch the worker up. 

The Type 3 device is for fall arrest and retrieval it ONLY. The winch function of the Type 3 is not designed for regular lowering and raising of the worker or materials. Use a seperate personnel winch to raise, lower or position the worker. To meet AS/NZS 1891.3, Type 3 devices must comply with the standard EN 360.

Using incorrect equipment when working at heights can have serious consequences. The information given above is general in nature and does not take the place of training or advice from experienced and trained persons. Contact Height Dynamics team or browse our online store for information about your fall arrest device requirements.