A question that we hear a lot at Malta Dynamics is “when do I use a leading edge self-retracting lifeline instead of a standard self-retracting lifeline.” It's important to know what self-retracting lifelines do and when to use the different classes and variations. There are many different types of lifelines. Some that are mounted overhead, some you wear on your back, some that are leading edge and some that are for overhead use only.
Malta's Hybrid Hogs come in 20 and 30 foot lengths. They are dual class self retracting lifelines, with braided steel cable. 'Dual Class' means that our Hybrid Hogs satisfy the shorter arresting distance for Class A lifelines of 24", while also satisfying the maximum arresting force of class B devices, which means these SRLs stop your fall in a shorter distance while also giving a softer stop that's easier on your body. This lifeline is for overhead fall arrest use only. The cable comes out of the housing and like most lifelines it's on a spring so if you have a fall it stops. This lifeline is for overhead use only where you can't come into contact with no leading edge. A leading edge is below and is something the cable could come into contact with and possibly shear or not arrest a fall properly.
A leading edge lifeline is a unit that has been tested to come into contact with an edge. What this means is you can have an edge at foot level, overhead or anywhere the cable has the possibility to come into contact with an edge. There's a shock pack on Malta Dynamics’ leading edge lifeline that gives an additional energy adsorption device. What this does is that if you were to fall over an edge, it will help to reduce the forces on the body.
The leading edge lifeline shock pack is woven fabric that is sewn together in a way so that if a fall occurs the breaking mechanism will shred down and provide the dissipation of the fall force. The standard self retracting lifeline has all elements internally so it's important that you don't come into any contact with an edge. Not only could your line shear, but it could arrest your fall improperly. It's also important to know that not every self-retracting lifeline with a shock pack below the housing is able to be used as a leading edge.
You always want to make sure you look at the label and it will let you know what its intended use is for. It's important to talk to your employer to make sure that it is written into your fall protection plan and that you have the proper equipment for each job. If you have any questions, most manufacturers have the information right on the label and it's very easy to get a hold of your local representative.