Picking the Right Tool Lanyard

Man working at heights wearing harness

Tool tethering is when a tool or piece of equipment is securely connected to a person or anchor point. If the tool is dropped from height, it is prevented from falling and potentially injuring someone below.

Protect Your Tools

Falling from any height can be detrimental to a tool’s usability, rendering it useless and leaving a costly dent in your tool box. Plus, there’s the inconvenience of having to stop work and descend to retrieve a broken tool. Just another reason to keep your tools attached!

Like height protection lanyards, there are a myriad of tool lanyards to choose from. Here are a few pointers on what to look for.

Measuring tape lanyard

Lanyard Types

A tool lanyard can be constructed with coiled cable, stretch (bungee), retractable, or straight webbing.

Coiled lanyards are made from ultra-strong cable. Many are coated with vinyl, making them easy to clean and maintain. Coiled lanyards are a good choice for wristbands or work belts.

The most popular type of tool lanyard is the stretch lanyard. Stretch lanyards are highly versatile due to their ability to retract, which reduces the chance of the lanyard becoming tangled.

An example of a shock absorbing lanyard is the F(x) Tool Lanyards from Ergodyne which feature a premium shock absorbing webbing, significantly reducing drop force on a worker’s body when a drop occurs.

Retractable lanyards house the lanyard material inside an auto retracting mechanism. To use, the lanyard needs to be extended to the desired length and locked with a mechanism.

Straight webbing cables can be lightweight and non-conductive to heavy duty with a high load rating. They have no lengthening or retracting mechanism, so they are ideal for attaching a tool to a fixed point rather than a person.

Tool Weight Limit

Using a lanyard that is the same weight range as your tool will provide the most comfortable experience, although it is possible to use a lanyard with a heavier load rating. For ergonomic safety, the maximum recommended weight a worker should be carrying off an aerial tool belt or attached to D-Rings on a fall arrest harness is 30kg. When tools are over 30kg, workers need to use a hoist bucket.

Tool lanyard

Connection Type

Tool lanyards can be affixed to tools with either a loop or karabiner. The loop can be attached to any tool with a captive hole or closed handle. It is easy to connect, but does not allow for quick tool exchange. Karabiners often require a tether point to be fitted to the tool before use, but once tethered allows for quick connection and exchange.

Ergodyne tool lanyard and backpack

Ergodyne Tool Lanyards

ATOM Safety recommend Tool Lanyards from Eyrgodyne. All Ergodyne’s products meet the American ANSI / ISEA 121 Standard and come with weight ratings up to 18kg with the introduction of Ergodyne’s new Heavy Duty Tool Lanyards. Eyrgodyne's range includes five different types of lanyards:

  • Wrist lanyards

  • Retractable lanyards

  • Coiled lanyards

  • Shock-absorbing elastic lanyards

  • Specialty lanyards, tailored to specific products, for example, a hard hat lanyard

Ergodyne also offer convenient Squids Tethering Kits. These kits have everything a worker needs to tether their most common tools and come in simple packets so your team can start tethering right away.

How to Tether a Tool in 4 Steps

1. Identify

identify what products you need to secure and how. Does the product have a connection point that a carabiner or loop can connect to or do you need to use tape or attachments to create an attachment point?

2. Trap

Create a connection or trap point. Trapping is fitting a connection point onto a tool for a secure attachment.

3. Tether

Create a link between the connection point on the tool and yourself. When selecting a tool lanyard to create the tether, ensure the lanyard is rated to take the weight of the tool and that the lanyard has the clearance and long enough reach for you to operate the tool safely. Be aware of any snag hazards that could occur.

4. Connect

Secure the tethering device/tool lanyard to a secure anchor point. This could be a tool belt, topping bucket, bag or an approved static anchor point.

To discuss the most appropriate lanyards for use in your workplace, contact the ATOM Safety team.

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