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The ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code allows for a 6-foot maximum free fall distance. OSHA allows the free fall distance to exceed 6 feet as long as the arresting forces are below 1,800 lbs. for a full body harness system and as long as there is sufficient clearance.


The maximum elongation of a lanyard meeting ANSI requirements (6 ft. free fall models) is 48 inches. OSHA standards and the OSHA test procedures allow up to 42 inches. You must judge the clearance in a given situation when determining what length to use. Capital Safety provides clearance charts with our products to help select the proper product for your application.


The term “100 percent fall protection” means that, at all times when a person is exposed to fall hazards (when at or above a given height), he or she must be protected by an active or passive fall protection system. Active systems include fall arrest systems such as a full body harness, lanyard and anchor point. A passive system could be a guardrail or net.

For example, if a company indicates that 100 percent fall protection is required above 6 feet, a worker climbing a fixed 20-foot ladder to a roof should be protected by a cage, ladder safety system or other active fall protection while climbing as well as when exiting the ladder onto the roof. A positioning or travel restraint device could be a part of this 100 percent fall protection system. However, most often a backup fall arrest rated system is also used while connected to the positioning or travel restraint system.


Yes, if the scaffold will support the potential loadings, and the scaffold manufacture approves such use, you can attach your fall protection system. Make certain your connecting hardware incorporates hooks large enough to fully close and lock when attached to the scaffolding (ex. Lanyard with rebar hook).


A harness should be worn over winter clothing. It is more visible for inspections and there is less chance for clothing to interfere with buckles and snaphooks. Additionally, when the harness is on the outside, if there is a fall and the harness is pulled upward, there is less possibility that the person could be choked.


Within ANSI Z359-2007, there is no specific height. ANSI only states that workers should provide a safe workplace for employees exposed to fall hazards. Within the OSHA fall protection standards, there are trigger heights for various work activities. In some cases, 4 feet is used as a common trigger height in General Industry. In the Construction industry, it is 6 feet for most activities.

What fall protection applications do my harness D-rings comply with?

  • Fall Arrest (6 foot free fall): Dorsal (back)
  • Restraint: Dorsal (back), Chest, Side, Shoulder
  • Work Positioning: Side, Shoulder
  • Rescue/Confined Space Entry: Dorsal (back), Chest, Shoulder
  • Climbing: Dorsal (back), Chest

When working on a leading edge, do I have to have a shock absorber with my retractable or can I just use my heavy duty lanyard?

You must use a Heavy Duty Lanyard or Self-Retracting Lifeline when working on a leading edge.

What is the maximum lanyard length allowed in Climbing/Fixed Ladder applications?

The maximum total length allowed between the fall arrester (rope grab) and the full-body harness attachment point (Dorsal (back) or Chest D-ring) is 36 inches. Refer to ANSI Z359.1-2007, 3.3.6.

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