Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs) are valuable for vertical fall arrest protection, but knowing where, when and how to use them is critical.


SRLs are inherently versatile, says Jon Rowan, product line manager at MSA Safety. Photo: MSA Safety

This is according to Jon Rowan, product line manager at MSA Safety, who stressed that an SRL is there to provide a fall arrest point. It will always be attached to an anchor which may be in different locations.

“Understanding your anchor point is the first step in making an appropriate product choice - you need to consider where the anchor is, how far it is away from the working point and how far away it is from the edge,” said Rowan. “Being conscious of fall clearance is also vital – having knowledge of distance means you can allow enough space for a fall to happen in the safest way possible.”

Tailor solution to environment

There are a vast number of situations where fall protection is necessary, but the specific type of solution will depend on the environment. SRLs are inherently versatile and used across a wide range of industries, e.g. for vertical access to turbines and confined spaces.

“Another factor to consider is fall clearance - the minimum vertical distance required between a worker’s feet and a lower level, which can also vary at different points on the working area,” noted Rowan. “A self-retracting lifeline can accommodate significant variance since it remains under tension and automatically adjusts the line.”

Ultimately, quality design enhances lifetime performance, maximising safety and reducing cost. “Entry-level, economy priced PPE is much less likely to offer the same performance and durability as higher quality, more premium solutions,” warns Rowan.

Equipment designed to be serviceable in the field and minimise repair times can dramatically reduce costly downtime and delays, he explained. Smart retraction dampening technology can also not only increase safety but limit damage to the product and surroundings, thus minimising downtime and further maximising product lifespan.

By Rebecca Jeffrey