Elena Ángela Carrión, Pedro Ignacio Saez (Building & Urban Development Department, University of Alicante), Belén Ferrer, Juan Carlos Pomares, Antonio González (Civil Engineering Department, University of Alicante) and Juan Francisco Monge (Center of Operations Research, University Miguel Hernandez of Elche)

Abstract: Accidents due to falls from height are one of the main causes of death in workplaces. Fall arrest systems (FAS) are designed to arrest the fall safely without injuring the accident victim. Their main mission is to restrain the body so as to prevent it from hitting the ground, generating forces and accelerations in the arrest process that are not harmful. A lack of empirical evidence and scant technical information provided by manufacturers regarding minimum clearance distance (MCD) below anchorage makes it necessary to study the safety distances required in the use of Energy Absorber Lanyards (EAL). This paper aims to determine the MCD below anchorage to arrest a fall using an EAL without hitting the ground. The real deformation of EAL when stopping a fall is studied. Ten EAL models distributed internationally by six manufacturers were chosen. Dynamic behavior tests were performed on the samples. Using image processing the total elongation of the equipment (elastic plus plastic) is obtained. The main conclusions are that maximum plastic elongation could be reduced by 29%. The method described in EN 355: 2002 underestimates elongation by up to 70% for some equipment 20% of EAL’s exceed the maximum arrest force (Fm) allowed in EN 355. The MCD data provided by manufacturers is not reliable. The data provided by manufacturers are incomplete. It is recommended that quality control for EAL’s be strengthened to ensure that products launched onto the market meet the requirement of EN355. The findings of this study recommended increasing MCD distance longer than that calculated according to EN355, at less than 1 m.