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The most important terms about fall protection compactly explained.

Fall arrest system

A fall arrest system is a personal fall protection system that limits the impact force acting on the body of the user during the catching process.


Rescue system

A rescue system is a personal fall arrest system that helps a person to rescue themselves or others in a way that prevents a free fall.


Flat roof protection

Flat roof safety is a collective term for various measures to prevent falling from roof surfaces. Flat-roof safety devices include both individual and collective protection measures, which do not require personal protective equipment against falling, i.e. side protection in the form of a scaffold or guard rail.


Steep roof protection

Steep roof safety devices are to be understood to mean various measures for protection against falling from steep roof surfaces (safety roof hooks, lifeline systems).


Fall edge

The fall edge is an edge from which people can fall in elevated and fall hazard locations.


Pendulum fall

If a person does not fall directly below the anchor point in the event of a fall, they run the risk of a pendulum fall. In this case, the falling body oscillates back and forth like a pendulum, which greatly increases the risk of secondary injuries such as bruises and fractures.

Therefore, in the planning of fall protection solutions, care should be taken that the user can always move as perpendicularly as possible to the anchorage device.


Shock absorber

A shock absorber reduces the forces occurring during a fall. It is a multi-layer sewn strap, which rips apart in the fall and thus reduces the forces occurring by up to a maximum of 6 kN. This extension must be taken into account when used in supporting and fall arrest systems. Shock absorbers are frequently integrated into the lanyards.



The lanyard establishes the connection between the anchorage device and the person to be secured: It is fastened at one end to the anchor point or lifeline system or rail system and at the other end to the harness that the user carries on their body. The lanyard is either a flexible strap made of cable or harness (fastener according to EN 362) or a fall arrest device (according to EN 360).
In principle, the lanyard should be used in combination with a shock absorber. Fall arrest devices are often equipped with integrated absorbers.


Safety harness

This is a safety harness, which is worn on the body, and thus is part of the personal protective equipment against falls (PPE against falls). Safety harnesses (or fall arrest vests) must be certified according to EN 361 and checked for their condition at least once a year. Safety harnesses have a D-ring, on which the carrier attaches their lanyard and thus establishes a connection to the anchorage device. Safety harnesses guide the forces that occur during a fall over the leg loops to the thighs to avoid massive injuries to more sensitive parts of the body. In addition, safety harnesses keep the wearer in an upright position. If a harness is actually used in a fall, it must be replaced.


Fall arrest device

This is understood to be a device that serves as a lanyard. A fall arrest device houses a cable or strap, which is wound on a drum. In normal operation, the cable or strap can be pulled out of the housing with slight resistance. In the fall, however, a brake acts on the drum and the free fall of the person is stopped. Fall arrest devices are often equipped with an integrated absorber, which eliminates the need for a shock absorber. Fall arrest devices must be tested and certified according to DIN EN 360.