Pre-Engineered and Temporary Horizontal Lifeline Systems

Horizontal lifelines (HLLs) serve as the anchorage device in many fall restraint and fall arrest systems. An HLL is a line that is stretched between two extremes of travel in a workplace to provide a continuous anchor for the attachment of fall restraint/arrest equipment. HLLs offer a greater range of worker movement at an economical price.

The Hierarchy of Fall Protection

The 3 levels in the hierarchy of fall protection are:

  1. Eliminate the risk
    1. Whenever possible avoid working at height.
  2. Guard the hazard
    1. If working at heights cannot be eliminated, a passive fall protection device such as guarding is the preferred option. (A Passive fall protection device does not require use of personal protective equipment or active participation by the worker.)
  3. Protect the worker
    1. If the fall hazard cannot be eliminated or mitigated by a passive method, then protecting the worker by an active method such as a fall restraint or fall arrest system can be utilized. (An active fall protection device requires the worker to wear a harness and be tethered to an anchorage point.)

What is the difference between a fall restraint and a fall arrest system?

A fall restraint system prevents a worker from reaching the fall hazard while a fall arrest system allows a worker to reach the fall hazard but protects them from injury in the event of a fall.

In both fall restraint and fall arrest systems a worker wears a harness and is tethered to an anchorage device.


Permanent and Temporary HLLs

The first categorization of HLLs is into either permanent or temporary installation. An HLL which once installed is not intended to be removed or dismantled in the foreseeable future is considered permanent. These HLLs are usually of the multi-span type. An HLL which is repeatedly installed, used, removed after use, transported to the next job site and reinstalled for use again is considered temporary. These HLLs are usually of the single-span type.

Pre-engineered Horizontal Lifeline

A pre-engineered HLL kit will include an in-line energy absorber that limits the loads transmitted to the anchor structure but will not include selection and design of the end anchors. When installed according to the manufacturer's instructions, a pre-engineered HLL system will provide a factor of safety of at least two times the maximum anticipated line loads. These HLL systems are typically installed by the purchaser.

Jobsite Specific HLLs

HLLs are also available in versions uniquely designed for the intended jobsite. Common designs include temporary HLLs designed for attachment to concrete, steel I beam and parapet roof edges. Residential roofers often use an HLL designed with nylon static kernmantle rope and heavy duty wood roof anchors.

Evaluating Horizontal Lifeline Systems

Some of the points that should be considered when selecting an HLL include:

Length of service. The system should be appropriate to the expected term of use. Using a temporary lifeline in a permanent installation may put employees at risk. The strength of the materials may be reduced by long-term environmental exposure.

Environment. Make certain the materials are suitable for use in harsh environments if there is exposure to corrosive agents, elevated temperatures, or other severe conditions.

Adequate coverage. The primary advantage of a horizontal fall arrest system over a single point anchorage is the mobility it provides and the increased protection from swing falls. If the system ends short of the work area the worker could be at risk of a swinging collision.

Training. Thorough instructions and on-site training ensures the workers will know how to use the equipment safely.

Engineered Fall Protection provides pre-engineered horizontal lifeline kits; serving clients from coast to coast, Canada, Mexico and especially focused in the states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, and Oklahoma.

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