Collective protection

Fall arrest device

A fall arrest device is a technical device which provides collective fall protection.

In the technical rules for workplaces ASR A2.1, a fall arrest device is defined as being a device which is permanently effective and capable of arresting a fall without the person who has fallen having to do anything. This brakes the fall and stops the individual concerned from falling even further. Here are some examples of fall arrest systems: Safety nets, safety barriers and scaffolding.

What must you watch out for when installing a fall arrest system?

When securing an area with a pitch of less than 22.5° through a collective fall arrest system, specific maximum differences in height between the falling edge, resp. the workplace or access route and the fall arrest system must be observed in accordance with DGUV Provision 39:

  • Davit arms, bracket scaffolding and suspended scaffolding systems: 3 m
  • Roof scaffold systems: 1.5 m
  • Other safety scaffold systems: 2 m
  • Safety nets: 6 m

Where work needs to be carried out on a surface where there is a risk of slipping due to the incline being between 22.5° and 60°, the fall arrest system used must be installed no more than 5 m below the workplace or access route.

When any of the fall arrest devices described are used, a range of additional specifications also need to be accordingly observed.

A preventive protection solution should always be given preference over a fall arrest device!


Even after a fall has been arrested by a safety scaffold or safety net, injuries are to be expected. It is quite possible - or even highly likely - that the person who has suffered the mishap will not be able to free him/herself out of this situation. Therefore, any entrepreneur using a fall arrest system must also be able to demonstrate that he/she has a respective rescue concept in place. Such rescue concepts are often quite different from those installed where PPE equipment is used.

For example, you must ensure that a rescue harness is provided as it will otherwise prove impossible to transfer the victim over to the rescue services.