What is the Difference Between a Leading Edge SRL and a Standard Self-Retracting Lifeline? 

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.

So, Why Does a Leading Edge Lifeline Need a Secondary Shock Pack? 

Leading edge retraction devices look a little different from standard self-retracting lifelines because they typically have an additional shock absorption pack or extra webbing stored in a backpack attachment. If you’re tying-off at foot level, you might encounter higher free-fall forces and other fall forces on the body. In the event of a leading edge fall arrest, the proper shock absorption and deceleration may not be able to take place inside the housing, so a secondary shock absorption device is necessary to limit the free-fall forces that the body must endure in a fall arrest scenario. 


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.

Check Labels to Make Sure Your Lifeline is Tested to the Correct Standards

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.



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