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Standing up to falls: Learning the ABCDs of fall protection

A fall from heights is a risk that every at-height worker must be prepared for. Helping you manage your risk to bring you home safely at the end of the day is something 3M Fall Protection prides itself on.  

What are the ABCDs of fall protection?

A typical personal fall arrest system incorporates four components often described as the ABCDs of fall protection. When used together, these elements form a complete fall arrest system that can offer maximum worker protection. The anchor/anchorage connector (A), body support (B), connecting device (C) and descent, rescue and retrieval of a fallen worker (D) are the ABCDs, but it’s important to consider two more elements: education (E) and fall protection for tools (F). 


Anchors are a secure point of attachment. Anchorage connectors vary by industry, job, type of installation and structure. They must be able to support the intended loads of a personal fall arrest system and provide a sufficient factor of safety for fall arrest.


Body support

Body support is typically a full body harness. Harnesses help to distribute fall forces over the upper thighs, pelvis, chest and shoulders during a fall arrest event. They also provide a connection point on the worker for the personal fall arrest system when working at heights.

Harness selection is an important equipment choice. Make sure you select harnesses that can help protect your workers when performing work in their specific environments. Worker comfort and compliance with provincial regulations are also key.


Connectors such as shock absorbing lanyards or self-retracting lifelines connect a worker’s harness to the anchorage.


Descent and rescue

These are devices used to raise or lower a fallen worker to safety or retrieve them from a confined space.

For those in need of rescue, time is of the essence to help ensure a safe and effective rescue. Choose the right descent and rescue solution for your application. 


3M Fall Protection Group provides fall safety and rescue training and education, also serving as a technical resource for many training standards organizations. Fall Protection Group offers numerous training courses that incorporate learnings about the ABCDs of fall protection.

Fall protection for tools

Dropped objects from heights can have devastating consequences for workers and companies. Each year in Canada there are over 27,000 reported injuries and more than 30 fatalities from being struck by falling objects.* 3M™ Fall Protection for Tools include tool lanyards, tool holsters, attachment points and more.

To learn more about how 3M harnesses safety through science and to find the right fall protection equipment for the job, please visit

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