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Glossary Of Terms & Definitions

Glossary Of Terms & Definitions
* Anchorage

A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices, and which is independent of the means of supporting or suspending the employee, must be able to support 5000 lbs.

Body belt

A strap with means both for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to a lanyard, lifeline or deceleration device. (TYPE II)

Body harness

a design of straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner to distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system.

Competent person

A person who is capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous conditions in the personal fall arrest system or any component thereof, as well as in their application and use with related equipment.

Deceleration device

Any mechanism, such as a rope grab, ripstich lanyard, specially woven lanyard, tearing or deforming lanyard, or automatic self retracting-lifeline/lanyard, which serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limits the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest.

Deceleration distance

The additional vertical distance a falling employee travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate. It is measured as the distance between the location of an employee's harness attachment point at the moment of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the employee comes to a full stop. OSHA allows 42" of elongation for deceleration.

Free fall

The act of falling before the personal fall arrest system begins to apply force to arrest the fall.

Free fall distance

The vertical displacement of the fall arrest attachment point on the employee's harness between onset of the fall and just before the system begins to apply force to arrest the fall. This distance excludes deceleration distance, lifeline and lanyard elongation, but includes any deceleration device slide distance or self-retracting lifeline/lanyard extension before they operate and fall arrest forces occur.


A flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap which is used to secure the harness to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.


A component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hand vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages on both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.

Personal fall arrest system

A system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these.

Qualified person

One with a recognized degree or professional certificate and extensive knowledge and experience in the subject field who is capable of design, analysis, evaluation and specifications in the subject work, project, or product.

Retractable Lanyard/Lifeline

A deceleration device which contains a drum wound line which may be slowly extracted from, or retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal employee movement, and which after onset of a fall automatically locks the drum and arrests the fall.

Shock absorber

See deceleration device

Tie off

The act of an employee, wearing personal fall protection equipment, connecting directly to indirectly to an anchorage, or the condition of an employee being connected to an anchorage.


Use of products tagged Type I are approved for use in fall arrest systems.


Use of products tagged Type II are approved for positioning only.

These definitions are set forth in OSHA 1910.66 Appendix C.
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