Lifeline systems and the standards that govern their use are of the utmost importance because they save lives!
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the construction industry. To combat the dangers of falls, OSHA has created mandatory standards that employers and employees must follow to prevent or arrest falls. Lifeline systems are essential to these standards to reduce and eliminate worker injuries and deaths from falls.
OSHA defines lifeline systems as a “component of a personal fall protection system consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages at both ends so as to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and serves as a means for connecting other components of the system to the anchorage.” In short, lifeline systems connect a worker or multiple workers via a personal body harness to an anchorage point. If a worker falls, the lifeline, as part of the entire personal fall protection system, stops the fall quickly or works as anchorage along with other components.
There are many different types of lifeline systems that workers can use in a variety of different scenarios. For example, horizontal lifeline systems utilize a horizontal line between two anchorage points that workers can attach to, allowing workers to move horizontally with the line. In a vertical lifeline system, the line is connected to one anchor point, allowing workers to move vertically up and down ladders, roofs, and other vertical surfaces.
There are many parts of the OSHA standards governing lifeline systems, but key points include:
- 1910.29(c)(11) – The employer must ensure that each horizontal lifeline is designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person; and is part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two.
- 1910.140(c)(15) – Lifelines must not be made of natural fiber rope. Polypropylene rope must contain an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor.
- 1910.140(c)(5) – A competent person or qualified person must inspect each knot in a lanyard or vertical lifeline to ensure that it meets the requirements of paragraphs (c)(4) and (5) of this section before any employee uses the lanyard or lifeline
- 1910.140(c)(4) – Lanyards and vertical lifelines must have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
- 1926.104(b) – Lifelines shall be secured above the point of operation to an anchorage or structural member capable of supporting a minimum dead weight of 5,400 pounds.
- 1926.140(c) – Lifelines used on rock-scaling operations or in areas where the lifeline may be subjected to cutting or abrasion shall be a minimum of 7/8 in. wire core manila rope. For all other lifeline applications, a minimum of 3/4 in. manila or equivalent, with a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 lbs., shall be used.
Safe Keeper sells two lifeline systems that meet OSHA standards: the 50 ft. vertical lifeline system and the 4-person temporary horizontal lifeline system. The vertical lifeline includes a harness, lifeline, roof anchor, and storage bucket for those working on roofs. The horizontal lifeline offers a solution when workers cannot use traditional anchorage points; it can be attached, taken down, and reattached at different job sites for up to four workers.
Safe Climber also offers two vertical lifeline systems. Both ladder safety systems provide permanent solutions for your fall arrest needs and meet all OSHA and ANSI requirements.