The Fall Factor is the ratio between the height of the anchor device, lifeline or anchor point in relation to the attachment point on the worker’s harness. In other words, the fall factor is the product of comparing the position of the anchor point or lifeline in relation to the attachment position on the worker’s harness.
It is a key concept in fall protection systems as it will have a decisive effect on the distance of the worker’s free fall prior to the activation of the anchorage devices to slow down and arrest the fall. Obviously, the greater the free fall distance, the greater the acceleration during the fall, prior to its arrest. Therefore, the total fall clearance required for the fall arrest will increase and, therefore, the load to be withstood by the anchor device to which the worker is attached.
The drawings shown below will help to explain this more clearly:
Is the ideal situation with regard to the fall, given that, should this happen, the fall would be 0 times the distance separating the worker from the anchor device.
In the event of a fall, the free fall would be 1x the distance between the anchor device and the worker at the time of the fall.
The free fall distance prior to the fall arrest would be 2x the distance between the anchor device and the worker at the time of the fall.