Industry news — New Standards for Lanyard Assemblies 2020

New Standards for Lanyard Assemblies 2020

As of August 2020, there are THREE new standards from Standards Australia. The new standards represent separation of the document AS/NZS 1891.1:2007 into three standalone documents:

  • 1891.3:2020

    Personal equipment for work at height; manufacturing requirements for fall-arrest devices.

  • • 1891.1:2020

    Personal equipment for work at height; manufacturing requirements for full body combination and lower body harnesses.

  • • 1891.5:2020

    Personal equipment for work at height; manufacturing requirements for lanyard assemblies and pole straps.

Of particular interest is Part 5 (1891.5:2020) which specifies requirements for the materials, design, manufacture, testing and labelling of lanyard assemblies and pole straps for work at height.

What is a lanyard assembly?

 It is an assembly of line, of either fixed or adjustable length, and components which will enable a connection between a harness and an anchorage, the intent of which is to limit the deceleration during the arrest of a fall.

What is a pole strap?

It is a positioning strap designed to be placed around a pole or other vertical structural member and attached at two points, one on each side of a harness, whilst the wearer is working on the pole or the structural member in order to create a restrained fall system.

As the standard states, the ability of the human body to survive a fall with the minimum chance of serious injury will depend principally on the decelerating forces imposed on the body during fall-arrest and the manner in which those forces are transmitted to the body. It was recognised in preparation of the standard that equipment used to arrest a free-fall needs to be designed so that:

  1. 1. Forces developed in the supporting lanyard assembly during the fall-arrest do not exceed 6 kN.
  2. 2. Product has to cater for user mass diversity.

Why was a new standard required?

AS/NZS 1891.5 (2020) separates out lanyard assembly and pole strap requirements from harnesses (previously under one standard). The purpose is to document specific requirements for the materials, design, manufacture, testing and labelling of lanyard assemblies and pole straps.


There are 7 key changes to note.

  • 1. Elimination of unnecessary product testing through inclusion of a deemed to satisfy process.

  • 2. Introduction of testing and labelling of lanyards for a range of user mass.

  • 3. Increased requirements for testing of adjuster creep.

  • 4. A requirement to test each product dynamically and then statically.

  • 5. A reduction of test loads to reflect this new testing process.

  • 6. The introduction of minimum requirements for both connector gate loading strength and major axis strength.

  • 7. Removal of the usage of natural fibre ropes.

Let us look at point 2, 4 and 6 in more detail.

Point 2. Mass range testing.

The idea is to help users identify a safe minimum and maximum user mass weight rating for each individual item. The label should advise that user mass is defined as the mass of the user plus their clothing, personal protective equipment, and carried tools and materials. Lanyard assemblies shall be tested for the upper and lower user mass range for which they are labelled. Further, clear instructions for fitting, adjustment and use shall be supplied with each component covered by the standard. A series of additional matters shall also be included in the instructions, from advice users may need to consult to minimum fall clearance required below the anchorage point, for the minimum and maximum user capacity specified for the lanyard.

Overall, look for:

  • – Manufacturer’s name, trade name or trademark
  • – Serial number
  • – Model and type / identification
  • – Standard number and year of the standard (AS 1891.5:2020)
  • – Pictogram to indicate the necessity for users to read instructions for use
  • – The month and year of manufacture
  • – The month and year to remove from service which shall be no more than 10 years from the date of manufacture
  • – The words, “The maximum allowable free-fall is 2m
  • – The minimum and maximum user mass limits (required for lanyards only)
  • – The lanyard capacity labelling requirements shall be written as follows:  minimum user capacity: XX kg, minimum fall clearance: XX m, maximum user capacity: XXX kg,  minimum fall clearance: XX m.


Point 4. Dynamic and static testing.

Dynamic test—lanyard assembly: Lanyard assembly dynamic testing comprises of a series of tests applied for the purpose of assessing the energy absorbing effectiveness of the lanyard assembly, and its maximum total extension after the specified test fall. It includes an integrity test for twin-tail lanyard assembly simulating an incorrectly stowed unused second tail.

Dynamic test—pole strap: The performance of pole strap assemblies fitted to a full body or lower body harness when subjected to dynamic loading of those assemblies shall be tested in accordance with the standard.

Static strength test—lanyard assembly: The tensile strength for the entire lanyard assembly in its fully extended condition and the connection between the tails for twin tail lanyards shall be tested in accordance with the standard.

Static test—pole strap: Immediately following the dynamic test earlier specified, the pole strap shall be tested for tensile strength by application of steadily increasing tensile force to the assembly in accordance with the standard.


Point 6. Connector gate loading

A connector is a load bearing, openable device used to connect components, which enables the user to assemble a system in order to link directly or indirectly to an anchor. Connector gates and major axis points should be strong enough to withstand a maximum load. Also, they must be manufactured and tested in accordance with international standards:

  • NSI/ASSP Z 359.12; or
  • EN 362 (connectors conforming to EN 362 must also have a gate resistance ([ace and side] of 6 kN minimum).