There is always an additional risk of injury in the case of a swing fall. A swing fall is when someone using fall protection equipment is unable to stop him/herself from swinging back and forth uncontrollably in the case of a fall.
An arresting system protects the fall victim from a fatal collision with structures located further down (e.g. the ground). However, the swinging effect of a fall can also cause serious injury, if the victim collides with an object or scrapes past it.
For example, the user might hit the edge of the structure, a steel girder or other similar obstacle. As the maximum swinging speed is almost as high as that of the actual fall, hitting something could have serious consequences.
If the user is not directly below the anchorage point, resp. at the shortest possible distance away from the anchorage point when he/she falls - but off at an angle, this will result in a swing fall.
This is the case, for example, where a user is secured by a single anchorage point whilst moving along a straight falling edge.
When planning a fall protection system, you should, wherever possible, ensure that the distance between the user and the anchorage device remains the same. Quite often, this is only possible where single anchorage points are used in combination with a temporary lifeline system set up by the user prior to commencing work. Lifeline and rail systems provide a much higher level of protection as these function as retention systems . The correct usage of such retention systems not only stops swing falls but also prevents them from happening in the first place.