It is all too common that fall protection applications that require a leading edge self retracting lifeline are using the wrong equipment. In this article, we will show you what a leading edge self retracting lifeline is and identify applications in which it is required.
What Is A Leading Edge SRL?
A leading edge SRL is a self retracting lifeline manufactured specifically to meet the ANSI Z359.14 standard. This standard calls for specific accommodations for leading edge applications and foot-level fall events.
In order to meet this standard, a leading edge SRL will be made of stronger cable, will feature more wear-resistant components, and it will include robust energy absorbing technology integrated into the lifeline. The 3M Protecta Rebel leading edge SRL on the left, for example, has been constructed of such materials. It has also been extensively tested in sharp-edge, leading edge, and foot-level applications.
What Is A Leading Edge and a Foot-Level Fall Application?
The fine folks at 3M Fall Protection give us a helpful definition.
"To visualize a leading edge situation, picture a worker installing decking substrate on a new building. Now imagine the worker’s fall protection system is anchored at foot level behind him. As the worker moves out and away from the anchor point while installing the decking, the worker is exposed to a potential fall over the edge of the building or the edge of an elevated platform. This is leading edge work, and it occurs when a worker uses a fall protection system anchored at foot level behind him and then moves away from the anchor point, exposing the worker to a potential fall over the edge of the surface being worked on."
In order to help visualize such an application, take a look at the below picture. It visually depicts the hazards presented by foot-level and leading edge applications.
Please evaluate the fall protection applications you or your workers face. If a normal self retracting lifeline (SRL) is being used in any of the above applications, you are seriously jeopardizing the safety of yourself or your workers.
We strongly encourage you to continually ensure that your safety equipment is suitable for your specific applications. In our experience, leading edge applications are the most frequently overlooked fall protection hazards. A mistake here is almost always serious.