According to the French national health insurance fund for employed workers (CNAMTS), falls from height are one of the leading causes of work accidents in France in the construction sector. It is also the leading cause of death (32%) – Source Caisse nationale d’assurance maladie des travailleurs salariés (CNAMTS). However, regulations are clear : Collective or individual protections are mandatory.


Legislative text concerning work at height safety :

Decree No 2004-924 of September 2004 replaces the decree of 1965 « Temporary work at heights must be carried out on the basis of a work plan designed, installed or equipped in such way as to guarantee the safety of workers. Prevention of falls from height shall be ensured by guardrails, integrated or fixed in a safe way, rigid and with a suitable resistance. When collective protection devices cannot be used, protection of workers shall be ensured with an appropriate fall arrest system.


Legislative text concerning maintenance of anchorage devices in place :

Decree No 95-608 of the 6th of May 1995 Articles R233-1-1 ; R233-157 et R232-1-12 of the labor code « The anchorage device, whatever its nature, shall be subject to an annual verification and appropriate maintenance, in accordance with the supplier and/or the installer’s instructions.


Article 6 of European directive 89/654 : "General obligations : In order to preserve worker’s safety and health, the employer shall ensure the technical maintenance of workplaces, installations and devices, and that defects identified and likely to affect the safety and health of workers are eliminated as soon as possible.


CRAM Article R 430 : « Any defect (repair or replacement) should be remedied as soon as it is detected and before it reduces the resistance of the installation. Regular checks and maintenance are all the more important that after installing a lifeline, this one is usually the only way to secure from the risk of fall.


An examination to detect any nascent irregularity on the hot dip galvanized steel, detachment of a piece of waterproofing on a post passing through the cover must be carried out annually before this one alters the resistance of the line or of the supporting structure.

European standards for works at height :

  • NFE 85-015 / EN14122-3 : Permanent access means : Stairs, ladders and guardrail
  • NFE 85-016 – Permanent access means : Fixed ladders
  • EN 363 – Personnal protection equipment against fall from height, including a full body harness and a fall arrest connection.
  • EN 361 – Full body harness
  • EN 355 – Energy absorbers
  • EN 360 – Retractable fall arrester (cable or webbing)
  • EN 353-2 : Guided type fall arresters including a flexible anchor line
  • EN 795 Class A : Single point anchors
  • EN 795 Class B : Temporary anchors
  • EN 795 Class C : Horizontal flexible cable system
  • EN 795 Class D : Horizontal rail system
  • EN 795 Class E : Dead weight anchorage
  • EN 353-1 : Guided type fall arresters including a rigid anchor line
  • EN 358 : Belts for work positioning and restraint, and work positioning lanyards
  • EN 362 : Connectors
  • EN 341 : Rescue descender devices


Prevent risks of fall from height

To ensure a good prevention of the risk of falls, it is essential to integrate this approach when designing buildings and workplaces. The establishment of collective protection will always be favored.

  • As soon as they are designed, the buildings and their equipment must allow the safe cleaning of the glass surfaces, giving priority to collective protection solutions. Similarly, access to the roof or terrace must be anticipated.


  • The analysis of the workplace must define the risls of fall and the adjustments to be planned in order to prevent the risk of fall for workers.


  • The analysis of the operating procedures for the installation and maintenance work must include the means of securing the workers and the procedure for using the safety systems provided.

This requires the involvement of the different actors in order to arrive at an optimal and satisfactory solution.


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