A Lanyard or a Lifeline?

February 8, 2019



Selecting the right connection device can be tricky. There are many variables including length, material and functionality. So how do you get the right one? Lanyards and Self-Retracting Lifelines or SLRs, are the two most common connection devices. We have decoded each so you can make an informed decision on what will best suit your worksite.


Lanyards are made of fixed length (usually 1.8 - 2m) webbing or cable with or without shock absorbing capability. Lanyards are ideal in situations where the full length of the connecting device needs to be taken into account, making lanyards the more ideal choice for smaller work areas. As lanyards are a fixed length, they can only be used in height applications higher than the length of the lanyard, including any shock absorption stretch. Lanyards offer more

simplicity, and are usually more hardwearing in harsh, dirty conditions.


Unlike lanyards, SLRs are available in a much wider range of lengths. The wire or webbing is stored in a central mechanism that lengthens when pulled in a constant fashion then automatically retracts as tension is released. If a fall is to occur, it is arrested by an internal braking mechanising that is activated by a sudden pull, much like a car seatbelt.


The real difference between the two is the amount of free fall a worker will experience before the fall is arrested. As the internal braking mechanism is activated as soon as the fall has occurred, SRLs limit free fall, whereas a worker using a lanyard will need to fall the length of the lanyard before the fall is arrested.




Double or Single Lanyard?

Whether you opt for a double or single lanyard is dependent on the job at hand. The benefit of a single lanyard is that in keeps you attached to one point without extra wires that may possibly become tangled, posing an additional hazard.


Using a double lanyard is beneficial when ascending or descending. The double lanyard allows the wearer to always be attached to a ladder or structure, one connection can be moved at a time as the worker moves up or down.


If you are unsure whether you should be using a lanyard or a lifeline, or want more information on single or double lanyards, contact your local ATOM Safety representative.


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