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How to Choose the Correct Lanyard for Fall Protection

For employers or building owners, providing adequate fall restraint or fall arrest systems for workers is essential to reduce the dangers when working at height.

In a fall restraint system a fixed or adjustable restraint lanyard connection is used between the person and the anchor point. A body harness, connected to this lanyard, ensures that the person does not reach the fall area.

It is worth bearing in mind that if a non-shock absorbing lanyard is used, it is important that the person is prevented from accessing a fall area. That is because a non-shock absorbing lanyard won’t be able to withstand the momentum of someone falling only a short distance – the arrest forces will simply be too high without an energy absorber to lower the forces.

Safety harness

The type and design of safety harness used in a fall restraint system is important, too.  It should incorporate a chest strap, with a metal buckle and D-ring on the front. This provides the worker with a way of attaching themselves to an anchor, or safe system of work, for example, a ladder system.

At Heightsafe Systems we use the highest quality components on all our lanyard systems and that includes semi-permanent oval and delta link connectors, which are accredited to BS EN 362. These are used on the operatives’ end of a shock pack or lanyard and provide a semi-permanent connection to the fall arrest equipment. The 18mm gate opening allows quick and easy connections to be made.

Fixed restraint lanyard

These types of lanyards use webbing or rope that incorporate a shock absorbing element. They are made from specially woven inner webbing that tears in a controlled manner and, as it does so, it decelerates the fall of the person to a level which avoids injury. These kinds of fixed restraint lanyards are low cost, although they offer limited reach and require frequent repositioning as the person moves to different work locations.

Adjustable restraint lanyard

At Heightsafe Systems we have developed a fall restrain lanyard that has been tested to BS EN 353 and enables the operative to work in restraint or a work positioning system while providing fall arrest. If a fall does occur, a specially designed aluminium cam acts as an energy absorber, arresting the fall in a very short distance, avoiding injury to the worker.

When choosing a lanyard, you must take into account the HSE hierarchy of protective measures. These are detailed in the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  The kind of work being carried out and the environment on site will guide the selection of most appropriate lanyard system. For example, presence of electrical equipment on the roof or other hazards will determine the choices made.

It also worth bearing in mind that fall protection equipment deteriorates with age and use. UV degradation, abrasion or contact with oil or grease are all factors that need to be taken into account. Physical damage is an ongoing issue as well, and items being dropped onto a lanyard is a common problem – this type of damage can remain completely invisible, which is a major safety concern especially with lanyards used within a fall arrest system. Also, how and where the lanyard is stored needs to be considered.

An effective way of ensuring that your lanyard system is used and stored correctly is to attend a Heightsafe Systems training course, with sessions specifically based around these requirements. A detailed knowledge of the equipment and how to use it improves the workers confidence and proficiency, which can save lives and avoid serious injuries.

Ensuring that your workers have the correct lanyard system and that they are fully trained is an effective way of ensuring fall prevention and fall arrest. Falls from height remain a major cause of death and injury in the workplace, according to the HSE, so make sure that you have the correct lanyard system in place.

For more information on Heightsafe Systems, including our comprehensive range of training courses, call: 020 3819 7199 or contact us here.

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