Optimising protective equipment against falls from a height - biomechanical load limits of man (main study)

Project No. FFFF 0068


completed 03/1993


Drop tests with rigid test bodies form the basis for the construction and dimensioning of protective equipment. The susceptibility of the human body to damage through the transmission of forces through the protective equipment is not taken into account. Goal: determining the biomechanical load limits of man when protective equipment comes into operation (safety scaffolds, safety nets and safety harnesses); establishing load take-up based on this: Evidence of the transferability of dummy tests.


Arithmetical simulation of the fall and impact of the human body; tests with dummies and experimentees; derivation of load limit values; derivation of fall height limit values.


Body models comprising trunk and legs for arithmetical simulation (fall onto safety scaffolds and safety nets). Values derived from instances of body damage form the bases for the biomechanical load limits in which fractures occur with a 35 to 50 % frequency. A longitudinal force of 1. 000 dN resulted in ankle fractures (landing on feet). With falls onto safety scaffolds from a height above 1.5 metres and into safety nets from a height above 6 metres is a minimum 50 % probability of bone damage.


Hospach, Grams, Kloß: Interdisziplinäre Forschungsansätze bei Schutzausrüstungen gegen Absturz. Die BG (1994) Nr. 9 (Teil 1) und (1994) Nr. 12 (Teil 2)

Last Update:

9 Aug 1999


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Universität Tübingen (Abteilung Biomechanik)
  • Universität Heidelberg (Institut für Rechtsmedizin)
  • DMT-Gesellschaft für Forschung und Prüfung
  • Bochum
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

mechanical hazards


Sturz- und Absturzgefährdung, Persönliche Schutzausrüstung, Ergonomie

Description, key words:

experimental determination of forces, definition of maximum fall heights: 1.5 m for man-catching scaffolds and 6 m for safety nets (fracture probability of 50 %)