Industry news — Self-Retracting Lifelines | Inspection Checklist

Self-Retracting Lifelines | Inspection Checklist

Self-retracting lifelines (SRL) must be inspected before each use, annually inspected by a competent person and recertified every five years.

Without inspections and maintenance schedules, equipment failures can have major impacts upon a business including unscheduled outages, increased cost and most importantly, major safety hazards resulting in injury or loss of life.

SRL’s that are properly treated, handled, installed, inspected and stored will reward us with a prolonged life of service, better job performance and peace of mind in knowing it won’t fail.

WHY ARE SELF RETRACTING LIFELINES IMPORTANT?

Despite going by many names including automatic fall arrest device, retractable fall arresters, retracting lanyards, and fall arrest block, the self-retracting lifeline is very important. Self-retracting lifelines allow for a greater mobility for those working at height, while at the same time minimizing trip hazards as the lanyard is always pulled taut. 

When working at heights, SRLs are the piece of equipment, ensuring workers can safely return home to their families at the end of the day.  You never know when an accident may take place, and when it does, you want to be connected to an SRL that is up on its inspection and ready to do its job!

WHO SHOULD INSPECT SRLs?

Daily inspections at the start of every shift or when resuming stalled work should be performed by trained employees. It can be helpful to do inspections alongside other co-workers, so that way if something of concern is found, you have the opportunity for a second set of eyes to look at it. Simultaneously, annual inspections are to also occur by a qualified technician.

HOW SHOULD I KEEP RECORDS OF SRL INSPECTIONS?

Daily inspections at the start of every shift or when resuming stalled work should be performed by trained employees. It can be helpful to do inspections alongside other co-workers, so that way if something of concern is found, you have the opportunity for a second set of eyes to look at it. Simultaneously, annual inspections are to also occur by a qualified technician. RANGER offers LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance to ensure workplace safety. This can be conducted on-site or in our own offices

SRL Inspection Checklist:

As you go through these steps, if the SRL fails any step then it must be removed from service immediately.

  • Visually Inspect the external housing or cover for any cracks or damage. The housing is not removable and will require special tools open – DO NOT open the unit unless you have been authorized and trained.

  • Ensure you can read the label including the date of manufacture, serial number, manufacture information, and warnings. If you can not read this information, you must remove it from service.

  • FOR WIRE ROPE SRLs – Using a glove to protect your hand, slowly pull the cable from the housing looking for cuts, frayed areas, worn or broken strands, rust, pitting corrosion or deterioration. Also look for any misshapenness in the rope including things like crushed, jammed, or flattened stands, kinks, bulges in the cable, gaps between the strands, or heat damage.

  • FOR WEB SRLs – Slowly pull the webbing from the housing look for holes, tares, abrasions, discoloration, or fraying of the webbing. Make sure you look at both sides and pull on the webbing to visually confirm there are no holes or tears.

  • FOR WEB SRLs – Bend the webbing to make an inverted “u” shape so you can get a better view of the surface. Look for any shiny spots, loose stitching or broken fibers.

  • FOR WEB SRLs – Rub the surface of the sling using a bare hand feeling for any hardened spots as this could be a sign of heat damage.

  • Check the carabiner ensuring there are no cracks, bends in the metal, discoloration, and make sure the lock is functioning properly. You can test this by opening and closing the carabiner to make sure it locks into place on its own and doesn’t get caught.

  • Perform a retraction and tension test by pulling out 50% of the lifeline, and then allow it to slowly retract retaining a light tension on the cord (do not let it go). Check to make sure the lifeline can retract smoothly. Then repeat this, pulling out the full lifeline. It is important to maintain a light tension on the lifeline at all times during this test as a bird’s nest could be formed within the housing if it retracts too fast.

  • Test the brakes by grasping the lifeline and apply a sharp and steady pull downwards until the breaks engage, and then keep tension on the lifeline until the breaks are fully engaged. There should be no slipping felt during this process. Again, allow it to retract keeping light tension. The brakes should release and allow the lifeline to retract smoothly back into the housing. Repeat this several times at different length points.

Photo credit to LINQ.

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