There are several different types of connectors that can be used between the anchor and the fall protection harness in the fall protection system. The choice of each of the three components will be important for safety, but too often the harness and the anchor are the focus, with little consideration about the connecting device.

One of the most common and efficient options to consider as a connecting device between the fall protection harness and the anchor is a self retracting lifeline (SRL). As the name implies, these devices are contained within a case and allow the lifeline to extend as needed and then, as the individual moves around; it will retract to pull in the slack and limit the line from becoming tangled or caught on items.

Ideal Use

The best use of a self retracting lifeline is when it can be attached to an anchor that is overhead. This anchor can even be positioned to an overhead movable system that allows it to slide along a track for greater mobility. These types of systems are typically permanently mounted for workers to complete repairs or to work on equipment in elevated locations.

It is possible to use a retractable lifeline on a floor anchor as well. However, these systems have to be designed for this use. They should use a cable line rather than a strap system, and they must be rated to be used with a leading edge.

Factors to Consider

Unless otherwise specified, the self retracting lifeline should not be used in anything other than the overhead anchor point configuration. Using other anchor positions will result in swing falls. As the self retracting systems are often longer than lanyards, there is a greater risk of this pendulum effect after a fall, which dramatically increases the risk of injury.

It is also critical to make sure the SRL is designed to be used with the fall harness and the anchor. The complete system should be tested to ensure it will work as a system, providing optimal protection in the event of a fall.