Safety Tips Construction Fall protection Injury prevention Personal protective equipment

Check self-retracting lifelines in cold or wet conditions


Photo: Barcielaphoto/iStockphoto

Designed for working at height, self-retracting lifelines “extend and retract automatically, which keeps the lifeline in consistent tension while allowing the wearer to move around within a work area,” says the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

“If functioning properly, when the SRL detects a sudden increase in speed (such as from a fall), a locking mechanism in the housing immediately activates and stops the fall.”

However, cold and wet environmental conditions may cause the locking mechanism to seize, resulting in the cable continuing to spool out. If this happens, the fall won’t be arrested. To prevent this, do the following:

  • Ensure the locking mechanism hasn’t seized by rapidly pulling the cable to verify the components of the locking mechanism are functioning properly. Perform this action before the SRL is used for any task and then throughout the day.
  • Briskly pull out the cable to make sure the locking mechanism inside the housing responds to a sudden jerk on the cable. It should lock up similarly to how a seat belt does when a car comes to a sudden halt.
  • If the SRL gets wet, store it vertically to dry.

If the locking mechanism isn’t working, don’t use the SRL! Tell a supervisor immediately.

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