You have many options for fall protection devices, and one of those options is self-retracting lifelines. SRLs are also known as automatic fall arrest devices, retractable fall arresters, retracting lanyards, and fall arrest blocks. An SRL is a retracting lanyard used in conjunction with a harness and anchorage point. Workers can use them in fall restraint situations—keeping the worker from approaching an edge or other fall hazards—and fall arrest situations—stopping a falling worker after the fall. Explore everything you need to know about SRLs:
SRLs are fall protection devices designed to arrest a fall and limit the distance a worker can fall. They typically consist of a cable lifeline attached to a worker’s harness and a housing unit containing a spring-loaded spool. The lifeline retracts into the housing unit when the device is not in use. Then, when a worker falls, the force of the fall pulls the lifeline out of the housing unit and automatically activates the device’s braking system, which arrests the fall and limits the distance the worker can fall.
A common analogy to explain an SRL’s working is a seatbelt. When a seatbelt expands gently, it lets out more material as needed, and it will retract any slack in the belt. But when a seatbelt expands with force, such as during a car crash, the locking mechanism in the seat belt seizes, keeping the wearer restrained in the seat.
SRLs work in the same way. They will roll out to let a worker walk around the workspace and gently retract any slack in the line. In fall restraint situations, the SRL should be shorter than the distance from the anchorage to the fall hazard, such as the edge of a building, and will thus not let the wearer get near the edge. In fall arrest situations, the theorizing mechanism is the SRL will seize up if a worker falls, effectively stopping the fall and keeping the wearer from injury or death.
What are some of the different types of self-retracting lifelines?
Various applications demand the use of SRLs, including construction, oil and gas, utilities, mining, and general industry. For example, they are often used in situations with potential fall hazards, such as when working at heights or near edges. SRLs are also beneficial in work environments with a lot of movement, such as on scaffolding or in areas with high winds.
There are several different types of self-retracting lifelines, each designed for specific applications:
- Webbing or rope lifelines are used in general industry applications.
- Cable lifelines are used in construction and utility work, where there is a risk of sharp edges or abrasive surfaces.
- Vertical lifelines are used in applications where the user works upright, such as climbing or working on a ladder.
So how do you choose the proper self-retracting lifeline for your needs?
Choosing the right SRL for your specific needs is vital. For example, some SRLs are designed for high winds or harsh environments, while others are designed for multiple worker usage. When choosing an SRL, it is essential to consult with a fall protection expert to ensure you are choosing the correct device for your needs. It is also vital to consider the following factors:
- The type of work performed
- The environment it is used, including the length of the lifeline needed
- The user’s needs, e.g., weight
- The fall hazards present
Common Questions About Self-Retracting Lifelines:
Q: What are the benefits of using an SRL?
A: There are several benefits of using an SRL, including that they can arrest a fall and limit the distance a worker can fall. Additionally, SRLs are easy to use and require little maintenance. They are also versatile and are used in a variety of applications.
Q: Are there any drawbacks to using an SRL?
A: One potential drawback of using an SRL is the fact that they can be expensive. Additionally, SRLs are unsuitable for all applications and should only be used in situations with a potential fall.
Q: How often do I need to inspect my SRL?
A: You should inspect your SRL before each use. Additionally, have your SRL inspected by a qualified person at least once a year.
Q: How do I care for my SRL?
A: You should store your SRL in a cool, dry place when it is not in use. Additionally, you should regularly inspect your SRL for damage and replace any damaged parts.
Self-retracting lifelines are an essential part of fall protection. If you are working at heights or near edge hazards, be sure to use an SRL. They can help keep workers safe and prevent serious injuries when used correctly. And be sure to consult with a fall protection expert to ensure you are choosing the correct device for your needs.
Safe Keeper’s SRLs
Safe Keeper carries an extensive inventory of self-retracting lifelines. We have SRLs that are 6-foot, 10-foot, 11-foot, 20-foot, 30-foot, and 50-foot, in length. In addition, we carry dual SRLs, lightweight SRLs, leading-edge SRLs, galvanized cable SRLs, and web SRLs. All of our SRLs meet or exceed OSHA and ANSI standards.