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How To Choose the Correct Lanyard for Fall Protection

Safety lanyards work as an anchor point for workers in the event of a fall from an elevated area. Often described as webbing or cable, these strappings help workers in many trades and positions carry out dangerous tasks with support. Knowing how to choose the correct lanyard for fall protection will ensure your safety depending on a given circumstance.

Lanyard Types

Fall hazards can vary greatly between job positions and even locations. One day may be more dangerous than another. Though employers should have a solution in place, it’s crucial that employees work together to confirm the right efforts are being made to maintain safety. In determining where to “tie off,” an employee needs to find an anchor point to attach to and must determine the type of lanyard that is best for a job.

Shock-Absorbing Lanyards

The most popular type of fall protection PPE is a shock-absorbing lanyard. The typical length of this type of lanyard is six feet and they often come in a bungee style. However, they do not possess the same elasticity that a bungee cord does, and thus, a person will not bounce back if they fall. These lanyards require a minimum of 18 1/2 feet clearance to be used. If you don’t have that much clearance, consider another option.

Due to the six feet of free-falling that catches and the three and a half feet that slowly descends, you need be ample room to use this type of lanyard safely. Moreover, lanyards can range in length. Leaving room for a possible fall and knowing the necessary lengths is necessary. Shock-absorbing lanyards are designed to stretch with the force of the falling weight.

SRLs (Self-Retracting Lanyards)

This is part of a complete fall arrest system. This vertical lifeline has an internal braking system that works to disperse the energy dispelled in a fall over a short distance. It limits the force applied to a worker’s body by only allowing a fall of about two feet. There is almost no slack with these lanyards, and they have become more compact and manageable over time. With such a short possible fall distance, it should be easier to regain composure.

Positioning Lanyards

Positioning lanyards are the least flexible option. They are designed to keep you in place with a fixed length. These lanyards are meant to prevent a fall more than arrest one. The lack of mobility options keeps you in place without the possibility of falling out of the area.

OSHA Standards

Though some would argue that falling over the side of a boom lift basket with too much slack may cause it to topple over, OSHA has not banned the use of any specific safety lanyard. They do require that fall protection is provided and used for elevations over four feet for general workplaces. However, this requirement is altered to five feet in shipyards, six for construction projects, and eight in longshoring work. For additional information on how to choose the correct lanyard for fall protection, consult the experts at Major Safety to ensure you’ve got the right equipment for a particular job.

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