Using a personal fall arrest system is no different than using any other personal protective equipment. In the hierarchy of protection, it is the last resort. The first step should be to remove fall hazards through engineering controls, such as guardrails.
In 2013, there were 796 on-the-job fatalities in the construction industry, 294 of which were caused by falls. Additionally, improper fall protection is one of the most cited violations on job sites by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).