What is a Tag Line?

On this week’s episode of Dynamic Discussions, Greg and David give us an overview of what a tag line is and what it’s used for. A tag line is simply a piece of rope with a snap hook or connector on the end that you can use to retrieve the cable on your self-retracting lifeline when it is anchored overhead. If your self-retracting lifeline is anchored many feet above you, there’s no safe way to retrieve the cable, so a tag line allows you to pull the hook on the SRL down to your level so you can attach it to your harness. Alternatively, the tag line is helpful to keep your SRL in good working order.

You shouldn’t leave your SRL cable extended all the way out of its housing because it will weaken the retraction springs inside the housing and deteriorate the integrity of the self-retracting lifeline. The tag line allows you to leave the cable bound up inside the housing until you need it, then pull the tag line to lower the connection hook to your person. The tag line is also helpful for gently feeding the cable back into the housing when you’re finished using the self-retracting lifeline. You should never let the cable snap back into place because it could seriously damage the housing or someone nearby.

How to Use a Tag Line

Using a tag line is simple! Follow these easy steps and just remember to keep your movements controlled. Your self-retracting lifeline has powerful springs loaded inside the housing, and deliberate movements will help you operate your lifeline with safety and success.

  1. Attach the tag line to the hook on your self-retracting lifeline.
  2. Let the tag line rope billow to the ground and use the tag line to pull the self-retracting lifeline hook safely towards you.
  3. Attach the hook from the SRL to your full body harness
  4. Detach the tag line hook and store the line in a safe place once you’re SRL hook is safely connected to your full body harness.
    1. Remember to remove the tag line once you’re connected. You should not leave the tag line connected once you attach the SRL to your full body harness. The hanging rope could create a trip and fall hazard.
  5. When you are done using the self-retracting lifeline, re-attach the tag line to the SRL hook on the end of the cable before you detach from your harness.
  6. Grasp the tag line rope and unhook the SRL from your harness.
  7. Gently allow the SRL cable to retreat into the housing overhead.
    1. Create guided tension with the tag line and do not allow the cable to snap back into the housing at a fast speed.

How to Inspect a Self-Retracting Lifeline

You should always perform a pre-use inspection on all of your fall protection equipment and at least once a year a Competent Person inspection is required. We’ve created handy checklists to make inspecting the condition of your Malta Dynamics equipment a seamless part of your everyday process. You may freely download and copy any of these forms that pertain to the equipment used in your operation.

Here’s a quick overview of the self-retracting lifeline inspection checklist:

  1. If your SRL has an external shock pack, remove the protector, and examine the plastic wrapping to make sure everything is intact.
  2. Examine the snap hook and make sure the gate cannot be forced open and that there is no visible corrosion or damage.
  3. Inspect the full length of the lifeline cable or webbing and make sure there are no kinks, frays, or damage.
  4. Make sure the braking mechanism of the SRL is working properly by performing a strike test.
    1. Grasp the cable and pull down quickly, the braking mechanism should kick in and stop the cable from moving
    2. Make sure to handle the lifeline above the load indicator so you don’t accidentally trip the indicator.
  5. Ensure that the unit housing has no cracks and that all the fasteners are in place.
  6. Examine the labels and make sure that the serial number, batch number, and manufacture date is visible.

How to Maintain Your SRL

Lots of repairs and returns happen because of improper care and poor maintenance. Proper inspections, storage, and cleaning will keep your self-retracting lifeline in working order for years of safety. Proper maintenance of your self-retracting lifeline is an essential step in keeping your fall protection lifeline in top shape. The best place to store your equipment is in a temperature controlled, dry environment. When cleaning a self-retracting lifeline, you should hang your webbed SRL to free your hands. Then, pull out the entire length of the lifeline and connect it to a fixed object. Using warm soapy water, moisten a sponge and ring out excess water so that you don’t get your equipment too wet. Next, clean both sides of webbing, the housing, connector hook, and external shock pack if your SRL has one. Then, using a rinsed sponge, repeat the cleaning process to rinse off any excess soap. After you’ve cleaned your SRL, you should leave it hanging to make sure that the webbed lifeline dries properly. Please note that you should not use bleach, sanitizers, or any other harsh cleaning chemicals on your products. Only use soap and water. These life-saving devices are simple to keep in good working order if you keep them well maintained and clean.

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