Swing falls, risky business
Using a fall arrest solution for fall protection means preventing a person from striking a lower level, should a fall occur. There is, however, a second, often overlooked, hazard that needs to be accounted for, the swing fall.
When a swing fall occurs, a person literally swings in their fall, a bit like a pendulum. During their swing they are at risk of striking the structure or a nearby object, oftentimes with great force.
The risk of a swing
The risk of a swing during a fall, or a fall with a pendulum effect, occurs when users are a distance away from their anchorage. The reason being that, as the distance between the user and their anchorage point increases so does the length of their lanyard. Should a user fall, the long lanyard can cause a considerable swing that could have a person striking a nearby surface.
The length of the lanyard also influences the speed of a swing, the longer the lanyard the more speed a user can gather. This speed in combination with a possible impact can result in serious injury or even death.
Sometimes a user travels so far that the lanyard becomes so long that should they fall they will hit the ground. Which is something that should be avoided at all cost.