Manufacturers promote their products to provide access to heights or they provide equipment to keep people from falling to the ground. One might conclude that manufactured products are the only solution to fall hazards and indeed that is the way that many workplaces have developed. Purchasing equipment is sometimes the only thing an employer does and workers have to figure out how to use it.
*Definition: Any means of reducing the frequency and/or severity of a potential fall exposure to an acceptable level. The means should preferably reduce as close as possible to zero any foreseeable sudden impact to the human body due to the effect of gravity
Products have limitations, expressed in product instructions, product labeling, standards of ANSI, ASTM, NFPA, OSHA etc. Products are advertised as problem solutions, sales and literature emphasize features and benefits, some recognize repair services, some offer spare parts. Distributors are service-oriented suppliers and product knowledge is typically very low, manufacturer agents are relationship builders rather than technical specialists, which leaves the manufacturer's sales and customer service departments to educate without the benefit of seeing the proposed application or having a complete understanding of it. Additionally, product demonstrations do little to educate on product limitations.
The parts of fall arrest systems have their challenges for manufacturers and employers. One challenge is for a component of manufacturer A to be attached to a proper anchorage. Another is to be attached to another manufacturer B's component. This is almost impossible to prevent yet there is no testing done under the standards for these product component mixtures
Many users have their own ideas about products because of perceived ease of use without recognition of hazards. Workers typically do not get to see product specifications, literature, instructions or standards use and care requirements. Workers will mix fall equipment parts without a second thought, they will use wire instead of bolts to lock scaffold legs, they use platform or scaffold railings only if they are told to and observed closely, they use lanyard and work positioning snaphooks until it is physically impossible to close the gate even if it sticks open, they add their own parts, they attach snaphooks to flanges of angle or I-beams as anchors, they wrap lanyards around sharp angles, they will wrap 1/4" lines round columns to concoct horizontal lines to which lanyards are attached, etc. They frequently roll up their harness leg straps and tape them with electrical tape. They sometimes wear their harness tops off when a body belt is incorporated into the harness. They sometimes wear small or unadjusted harnesses when they should wear large size and the sub-pelvic strap is therefore non-functional above the buttock during and following a fall, etc.