What is a Fall Factor Calculation?

Fall factor is a simple calculation that represents the severity of a fall.

Calculating a fall factor is achieved by taking the distance of the fall and then dividing it by the length of rope or lanyard available to absorb the energy.

The basic principle is that the lower the fall factor, the safer the fall. Therefore, it is important to achieve the lowest possible fall factor when planning the use of Fall Arrest Equipment and this can be achieved by using the shortest possible lanyard and attaching it to the highest possible anchor point.

Fall Factor Calculations

In an ideal scenario, the best fall factor would be zero and the target should always be to get as close as possible to this.

Fall Factor = 0

For a Fall Factor of 0 (zero) the anchor point is located above the operator. The fall arrest lanyard is almost at the tension point and would immediately arrest the fall.

Fall Factor = 1

For a fall factor of 1 (one) the anchor point is located at the level of the dorsal attachment. The force generated by a fall must be dissipated using a deceleration device e.g. lanyards provided with an energy absorber.

Fall Factor = 2

For a fall factor of 2 (two) the anchor point is located at or below the level of the operator’s feet. This working condition should be avoided if possible as it places the operator in a potentially more critical situation due to the increased distance of the fall and the potential risk for the casualty to suffer the pendulum effect during the arrested fall.

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