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Can I use a lanyard or self-retracting lifeline after a fall?

Can I use a lanyard or a self-retracting lifeline (SRL) again after a fall?

Anytime a fall occurs, you must remove the item from service immediately and contact your Competent Person on the job site. The Competent Person should adhere to policies that are in place or contact the manufacturer. Generally, if you are going to use one of these devices again it needs to be sent back to the factory or to a factory recertification center.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) describes a Competent Person in standard number 1926.32(f) as, “Competent person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”

We can only speak for Malta Dynamics, if you have another brand of lifeline or lanyard, please review the user manual or the manufacturer’s website.

If a Malta Dynamics SRL has experienced the forces of or similar to a fall, it must be taken out of service, and sent to a certified repair center. Although at a glance the lifeline may seem fine or even pass a strike test, it is not suitable for reuse.

OSHA states in standard number 1926 Subpart R Appendix G (d)(19) “Personal fall arrest systems and components subjected to impact loading shall be immediately removed from service and shall not be used again for employee protection until inspected and determined by a competent person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.”

The internal stopping mechanism in a self-retracting lifeline can be damaged, and although it may seem to pass a strike test, it could fail under the forces of a person falling. Users are not authorized to open the lifeline housing, so after a fall, the only means of re-using the lifeline is to have a certified technician inspect the internals, replace any broken components, and replace the snap hook.

It is very important to inspect SRL’s and lanyards before use.

If it is a shared lifeline, then a user before you may have experienced a fall and failed to document or notify the Competent Person. A Malta Dynamics SRL that has experienced a fall is very apparent during a pre use inspection. The color on a ring directly above the snap hook will show green until it has seen the forces of a fall. After the forces of a fall, you will see that ring be the color red. Please view this free, downloadable inspection form here.

Generally speaking, your lanyard is not going to be repairable because it’s more of a disposable item. As long as there is no internal damage to the SRL they can typically be repaired and recertified and put back out in the field. A good thing to get in practice of doing is before you use a SRL, you are always checking the fall indicator on the pre-use inspection to see if it’s had the forces of a fall. You’re also performing some strike tests as well to make sure a fall did not occur with someone that was using it without your knowledge.

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