One of the biggest risks on a job site, be it construction, home improvement, or otherwise, is falling. Even a fall from just a few feet can have major consequences. The key is to remain safe and protected at all times.

That is why having proper personal fall protection equipment is a must. What you may not have realized is that there are several types to choose from, including those listed below.

Fall Arrest

Everything on this list is meant to prevent the person in question from hitting the ground. A harness lanyard is just part of the equation, and can typically encompass things like an I-beam trolley, anchor sling, or some other type of anchorage connector. Even in aspects of home design, having a harness can prove beneficial to the overall safety of those involved.

A fall arrest system is typically used whenever working at elevated levels. This equipment allows for proper movement, but it will also safely stop a person from hitting the ground should they fall. The lanyard, a lifeline, fall arrester, or deceleration device are all suitable to act as a connector.


These also require a body belt or full body harness as a means of support. It is more of a support structure than some of the others that one would find. It also makes use of either a roof anchor or sling system to provide proper connection.

A positioning lanyard connects to allow the restraint to work. It lets workers reach the necessary work surface safely without having to reach. Leaning and reaching are among the biggest reasons for falls on a job, so having a restraint makes it impossible for the reach to happen and cause the fall in the first place.

Work Positioning

As is the case with every item on this list, the person using this system would wear a full body harness or some sort of belt. The difference with work positioning is that it uses a ladder or some sort of vertical rods as a means of anchorage rather than a whole structure for support.

The positioning system works by holding the worker in place. While they are still able to work hands-free even on elevated vertical surfaces, there is no risk of a fall because the harness will respond to the anchorage. This is great for working on windows or walls where using one hand for support is less than ideal.


Making use of a full body harness, this support structure connects through a self-retracting lifeline. The hoist or some other personnel rated connector should be used if there is no ladder available to be used. The anchorage connector would be a davit or a tripod as well.

The rescue or retrieval system is used mostly when it comes to confined spaces. These have been specifically designed for workers who are performing maintenance on manholes, tanks, etc. In the event of an emergency, this can be used to retrieve workers and remove them from the dangerous situation.

Evacuation/Controlled Descent

While this system also makes use of a full body harness, it is unique in that a tie-off sling is the anchorage connector. The support structure is connected using a controlled descent device as well.

This system is unique in that it can be used when assisting a rescue by either lowering or raising the subject to a proper working level. It’s slightly different from other harness systems because they can be used for either ascent or descent. Just keep in mind that this system is meant to have very brief use periods.