General terms

Retention system

Retention (or holding) systems are covered by EN 363 "Personal fall protection equipment - Personal fall protection systems". Such systems are characterised by the fact that they completely rule out the possibility of a fall occurring, if personal fall protection equipment is used (PPE).

Prevention measures using personal fall protection equipment

Retention systems provide the user with a high degree of safety. After receiving appropriate instruction, the user selects the right PPE equipment and a suitable anchorage device aimed at deliberately limiting his/her range of movement. This range of movement much be such that a fall can be totally ruled out.

In the case of a permanently installed anchorage device, for example on a roof or in another set-up, the position of the anchorage device is determined by a planning expert. Working closely with the building operator and the safety and occupational health coordinator (German: “SiGeKo”), the planner decides on how to position the anchorage devices effectively.

When included in a retention system, a single anchorage point only allows a circular range of movement so that it is not really the ideal choice for setting up a retention system.

Lifeline and rail safety systems, on the other hand, can be installed parallel to the falling edge, thus providing the same level of protection all the way along. As a result, the range of movement is considerably bigger - allowing users to work safely all along the falling edge .

Special features of a retention system

As a fall is totally ruled out when using a retention system, energy-absorbing components can be dispensed with. However, we strongly recommend considering carefully before completely doing away with these. If the system is not used correctly (fall) and you have decided not to use a lanyard energy absorber,  your body will be exposed to the full impact of the fall which can be expected to result in massive injuries or even death.


Even in a retention system, make sure to use products which absorb energy.

  • You can never do wrong, if you use an energy absorber - and use it correctly.
  • Always use an approved and tested safety harness.
  • Treat the system like an arresting system.
  • Even if the retention system is not used correctly, it will then still safely arrest your fall.

Arresting and retention systems

There are two ways of working with PPE equipment and anchorage devices on a flat roof surface. This always depends on the user and the type of safety system installed.