Skip to content

Fatality: fall from height

We have received information on a fatality which occurred when a person fell from a high voltage transmission tower whilst wearing the appropriate PPE (fall arrest system).

The full incident investigation is incomplete, but information available from the preliminary investigation indicates that the cause of the incident was the failure of the fall arrestor lanyard. Early indications are that the stitching on the harness side of the lanyard failed when it took the load of the person’s weight.

The lanyard was a SALA Zorba twin elastic lanyard (tieback 2 metre H186 alloy hook), product number Z622035E. The lanyard appeared to be in good condition and was approximately two years old. While the investigation is pending, the company involved has withdrawn this make of equipment from use.

The company’s own procedures, as is also required under some regulatory regimes, required personal fall protection equipment (PFP) to be visually inspected prior to each day’s use. In addition, lanyards and fall arrest systems were required to undergo an annual inspection by a competent person and had to display a legible information tag. Any such equipment showing signs of deterioration or damage, regardless of its degree, was to be taken out of service and destroyed. Out-of-date equipment was to be taken out of service until re-inspected by an appropriately qualified person.

The company issued the following instructions in light of the incident:

  • construction inspectors and supervisors to review this flash/the incident at their next safety meeting;
  • all PFP equipment to be inspected as set out in the company’s procedures, with such inspections documented and records made available for audit;
  • the specific make and model of lanyard to be withdrawn from service pending further investigation and analysis.

It has been noted that the lanyard did not carry a US-domestic product number and was not commonly used by US contractors.

Further outcomes from the investigation are to be communicated in due course.

Safety Event

Published: 1 February 2005
Download: IMCA SF 02/05

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.