International standards on fall protection are moving ahead, with the active involvement of U.S. manufacturers, government agencies, and the American Society of Safety Engineers.

The International Standards Organization's (ISO) subcommittee on personal fall arrest systems is drafting standards on vertical rails and lifelines, connectors, system performance and horizontal lifelines. The ISO group has completed and published standards on full body harnesses, lanyards and self-retracting lifelines.

There is general agreement between U.S. standards and the ISO standards on the concepts of fall arrest, but differences on maximum free fall distances and maximum arresting forces, according to ASSE. As a result, it’s unlikely that ISO standards would be adopted as American National Standards anytime soon.

U.S. fall protection experts are particularly interested in providing input for the standard on horizontal lifelines, because there is no U.S. equivalent.