Quebec Research Organization Develops App for Designing a Fall Protection System

Published May 4, 2016

​IRSST, a nonprofit scientific research organization in Quebec, Canada, has developed a new Web-based tool intended primarily for engineers who specialize in the design of active fall protection systems. According to IRSST, the tool offers a user-friendly way to make calculations such as tension in the cable at fall arrest; deflection of the cable at fall arrest; and clearance required in relation to the cable. Other potential users of the tool include those who wish to assess fall protection systems that have already been installed, including occupational health and safety professionals and users of horizontal lifeline systems, also called flexible continuous anchorage systems.

The online app is a complement to IRSST’s technical guide, Protecting against Falls from Heights – Horizontal Lifeline Design, which was recently updated to reflect regulatory changes in the province. While the guide is currently only available in French (PDF), an abstract is available in English.

“Even though under Quebec regulations, workers exposed to a risk of falling three meters or more must be secured, around 6,000 falls from heights occur every year in Quebec, and many of them are fatal,” said Bertrand Galy, an IRSST researcher and co-developer of the app. “The guide and application will help engineers test the validity of their systems or certain working assumptions at the predesign or design stages or in the field.”

IRSST cautions app users that the tool is not a substitute for the opinion of a qualified engineer, nor does it constitute proof that a horizontal lifeline system is safe.

The app and its user guide are available via IRSST’s website and can also be accessed using mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones.

For more information on IRSST, visit the organization's home page.