We know that sometimes on jobsites, workers debate using a self-retracting lifeline or a lanyard. There is a difference between the two pieces of equipment. The visual difference is that a lanyard is a section of webbing or rope like material with a way to arrest your fall. It is one standard length and it attaches to the D ring on your harness along with what you are tying off to. The self-retracting lifeline is more complicated and has a housing unit. The cable is spooled up with a breaking mechanism with different things internally that arrest your fall.
They are used for different reasons and situations. A lot of the time you see on job sites the old technology which was a lanyard. As time evolves we have more people moving to using SRLs. We still have customers that are only mandating SRLs on their job sites. We, at Malta Dynamics, feel you should evaluate each fall protection scenario independently. You want to look at your fall clearance distances and other situations, because a lanyard might be more appropriate. If you're using a personal sized SRL on your back and tying off at foot level, your free fall distance could be much greater if you're using a standard lanyard.
We believe that there is a place for lanyards, especially for someone in a forklift or bucket truck. A lanyard works very well for someone in that situation when they don't use fall protection that often. Lanyards are easy to look at, maintain and inspect. However, self-retracting lifelines definitely have advantages. If you have an anchor point 30 feet high you have something to tie off with, rather than your standard 6 foot, shock absorbing lanyard. There are a lot of different situations and so many different fall situations. It's nice to be able to choose between a lanyard and SRL.
If you are unsure of which would be better to use, your company is going to do a site survey and hazard analysis to figure out which one is best. There's a lot of thought that lanyards are dead but we believe that there is definitely a place for them. Depending on what your situation is, we believe that they could be very useful.