Fall Protection Within A Steel Frame

Steel frame with safety


in our experience, are rarely the safest choice when working at height and should never be used in steel frame buildings above ground floor level. If they need to be used at ground floor level, then special allowances should be made available to protect the external fall risk.

Common problems

  • Poor installation of Airbags that is unregulated or unaccredited
  • Poor maintenance of Airbags with no service history
  • As cheaper option it is preferred by main contractors
  • No protection of external windows or doors when using airbags
  • Fall protection of internal voids such as staircases are inadequate.


  • Safety netting
  • Pre-Start checks
  • FASET installers


Mobile Elevated Working Platforms can be a practical solution. Hired plant from reputable suppliers provide correctly maintained equipment and PSS personnel are trained and competent operators. The restrictions are in the flexibility of movement and positioning of plant on or around the structure. The ground conditions which can cause risks must be competently assessed. MEWPS are best utilized in structures for dock levelers and wall panels. They are also the only option when installing precast lift and stair shafts.


Netting is a fall arrest system that is predominantly used in steel structures. In most cases it is the best option available. Netting protects the entire working area, is installed directly below the working area and to industry guidelines by trained personnel. The nets are regularly inspected and tested to destruction periodically by a trained and competent person.


Harnesses again are a fall arrest system that serves to catch the operative after the fall. In the precast industry they have been used for for upper floor installations, it places much responsibility on the operative to ensure they are constantly connected to an appropriate anchor point. Each connection should be subject to its own risk assessment for stability, fall/swing radius, obstructions etc. If an operative were to fall whilst in a harness, there is a risk of suspension trauma. Especially if they are not recovered quickly.

During floor installations, sometimes it requires the sequencing of planks in delivery to ensure a stable platform. If not planned correctly, this can lead to multiple handling of units.

PSS’s Solutions

At PSS, our preferred fall protection solution for floor installations within a steel structure is a safety netting system. This system is fast to erect and dismantle, it is subject to FASET approved guidelines for the inspection and maintenance of the equipment and an NVQ L2 is available to ensure competence of erection personnel.

When working in steel structures we use netting fall arrest via our FASET trained and competent installers and provide documentation for the regular inspection and testing of our nets. Safety nets protect workers on construction sites, preventing serious injury and death through the following benefits:

  • Allows workers to move freely, unlike personal harness options where movement is limited.
  • Provide collective protection for all work and movement within the work area.
  • Nets provides a soft landing as opposed to a harness solution, with no risk of suspension trauma.
  • Avoids complicated rescue operations as the fallen site operative can simply climb out of the net.

For your next project, how will you decide to protect your workers?