All fall protection products fit into four functional categories.
1) Fall Arrest: A fall arrest system is required if any risk exists that a worker may fall from an elevated position, as a general rule, the fall arrest system should be used anytime a working height of six feet or more is reached. Working height is the distance from the walking/working surface to a grade or lower level. A fall arrest system will only come into service should a fall occur. A full-body harness with a shock-absorbing lanyard or a retractable lifeline is the only product recommended. A full-body harness distributes the forces throughout the body, and the shock-absorbing lanyard decreases the total fall arresting forces 2) Positioning, Travel Restraint: This system holds the worker in place while keeping his/her hands free to work. Whenever the worker leans back, the system is activated. However, the personal positioning system is not specifically designed for fall arrest purposes 3) Suspension: This equipment lowers and supports the worker while allowing a hands-free work environment, and is widely used in window washing and painting industries. This suspension system components are not designed to arrest a free fall, a backup fall arrest system should be used in conjunction with the suspension system 4) Retrieval: Preplanning for retrieval in the event of a fall should be taken into consideration when developing a proactive fall management program