Everything you Need to Know about Lanyards
When it comes to using lanyards for work at height, there are some rules to adhere to which ensure that they offer the correct level of protection. A lanyard is a connecting element or component of a personal fall protection system and consists of flexible material with at least two, ready-to-use terminations, with or without an adjustment device. Lanyards can be made from synthetic fibre rope, wire rope, chain or webbing. There are several types of lanyard for use in PPE (personal protective equipment) and it’s vital that the correct type is used.
One of the most important issues, obviously, is the length of the lanyard being used and when it comes to work at height, there are two broad categories of lanyard with a total of four different types.
CATEGORY 1 – FALL ARREST LANYARDS
Fall arrest lanyards consist of self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) and Fall Arrest Lanyards, which are often referred to simply as “hooks” (referencing the snap hooks on the end of each lanyard leg which enable workers to remain 100% tied-off when other forms of fall arrest are not available or practical. These lanyards are typically made of rope, webbing or cable and are easy to identify by the shock pack or tubular shock absorbing legs. There are some different options when it comes to fall arrest lanyards:
- The Y-style Lanyard featuring two legs that are connected into a single shock pack
- The V-style Lanyard which features two integrated tubular style shock packs, one in each leg.
CATEGORY 2 – WORK POSITIONING LANYARDS AND FALL RESTRICTION LANYARDS
Work Positioning Lanyards are used to enable climbers to work using both hands whilst remaining 100% attached to the structure (with effective fall arrest in place). They are often made from rope, webbing or cable/linked chain. Some are of fixed length while others are adjustable (when not weighted). Others can be adjusted under load and can be used in multiple configurations – the correct training is essential to use this type of lanyard.
Fall Restriction Devices are specialised derivatives of positioning lanyards designed for linemen to use on wooden poles. They are intended to provide fall protection for linemen where other methods are not practical and, if used correctly, enable a worker to regain his footing if he experiences a cut-out.
Fall Restraint Lanyards are often adjustable, having one end attached to an anchor point and the other attached to the worker using the lanyard. These are designed to restrain the user’s movement to the point that he/she cannot experience a fall.
It is absolutely essential for those who work at height to understand the different types of lanyard available and what each should be used for. In most work at height industries, a worker may use a combination of one of the four main types of lanyard to stay safe and ensure compliance with regulations.
A vital issue to consider is that a lanyard can only offer adequate protection if it is fixed to an anchor point specifically designed for working at height.