When a worker free falls from a height their body builds kinetic energy as it moves towards the ground. The greater this energy, the greater the force of impact. Even if a worker is wearing a lanyard during a free fall, the body will still feel a forceful impact during arrest. This is where shock absorbing technology is important.
With no shock absorbing technology, the body will feel the full force of energy build up during free fall, potentially causing injury. It is for this reason non-shock absorbing lanyards should only be used for restraining purposes, not fall arrest.
Shock absorbing lanyards are designed to keep the force experienced during an arrested fall to below 900lbs (4kN). They work by deploying a secondary length of stretch webbing once a maximum force has been reached. This reduces the speed of fall, and therefore the amount of impact force.
There are two popular styles of shock absorbing lanyards, pack style and tubular style. Pack style lanyards are popular as they are easy to use and simple to inspect in comparison to other styles. A specially woven inner core sits in a pack attached to the lanyard. In the result of a fall, this woven core expands. The core also includes a heavy duty back up strap.
The tubular style lanyard also includes a specialty woven inner core. However, instead of being stored in a pack it runs through the centre of the lanyard, deploying in the result of a fall. The elasticated nature of the tubular type lanyard can make it slightly more difficult to inspect for damage before, during and after use.
If you have a question about shock absorbing lanyards, or want to know what product will best suit your needs, contact your local ATOM Safety representative.