Whenever you or any of your employees are working at height, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’ve set up the right safety measures. This is because falls are the leading cause of injuries and deaths at workplaces, accounting for more than 30% of all workplace deaths in the UK for the year 2022-23.

One of the main safety measures recommended by the government for height safety is the use of a fall arrest lanyard. These are a part of height safety personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not only necessary but also a legal requirement. 

What are Fall Arrest Lanyards?

A fall arrest lanyard is a crucial part of a fall personal fall protection system, and its main goal is to keep working from getting injured in the event of a fall. To do this, they can stop a fall and reduce the impact of the fall force on the worker’s body.

Typically, a fall arrest lanyard is connected to a worker’s body through a fall arrest harness, with the other end secured to an anchor point. This lanyard can either be fixed or retractable, and the anchor can also be a fixed structure or a mobile system. This means that lanyards are part of a larger fall protection system, and you can get it alongside the other height PPEs from a safety vendor like RS.

Types of Fall Arrest Lanyards

Fall arrest lanyards are a part of lifeline equipment, so it’s important to ensure you understand them and select the right one. Below are the three main types you can choose from.

Shock Absorbing Lanyards

Shock absorbing lanyards are mostly used in situations where the fall distance is significant. They are designed to minimize the impact of fall force on a worker by having a built-in shock absorber. This is a woven webbing centre in most cases, and it expands if you fall to reduce the force that will impact your body. Shock absorbing lanyards are typically used with a full-body safety harness to provide complete safety from injury.

Retractable Lanyards

Retractable lanyards, also known as self-retracting lanyards (SRLs), are meant to offer more flexibility during work. These lanyards can extend as you move away from the anchor point and automatically retract when you move closer. But while they can adjust their size automatically, they remain stiff at every point. They work more like car seat belts, where normal movement is allowed, but sudden movement is not. Retractable lanyards are normally attached to a D-ring linked to your safety harness.

Work Positioning Lanyards

The above lanyard types are meant to arrest a fall, but work positioning lanyards are meant to prevent it. These types of lanyards are designed to safely lock a worker in a certain position and allow them to work with both hands. 

Due to their functionality, work positioning lanyards are suitable for jobs that don’t involve moving around. They are combined with a body belt or harness to help in things such as utility maintenance.

Choosing the Right Fall Arrest Lanyard

Selecting the right fall arrest lanyard is key in ensuring maximum protection for you or your workers. When choosing one, first assess your work environment to determine the specific hazard, types of surfaces, and potential fall distances. These should guide you in selecting a lanyard that fits the job in terms of length and flexibility.

Besides that, consider the weight that needs to be supported, which is the weight of both the worker and their tools or equipment. Finally, ensure that the lanyard is compatible with your harness and the other fall protection equipment you have. By doing this, you will not only enhance the overall safety and performance of your workers but also ensure you remain compliant with the height safety regulations.

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