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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

The term ‘leading edge’ is common across the fall protection industry, and is used by everyone from OSHA, to contractors, to equipment manufacturers to identify where a fall hazard begins.

Recently, however, the concept of ‘leading edge’ has become a bit more complicated, due to the release of the ANSI Z359.14 fall protection standard for self-retracting lifelines (SRLs). Published in 2012, ANSI Z359.14 is growing more and more prominent within the industry, and while it has helped clarify a number of points regarding SRL use, it has also brought some confusion along with it.

Leading Edge Work In-Progress

Leading Edge Work In-Progress

The most significant changes brought about by the ANSI Z359.14 standard are a number of new classifications for SRLs. Previously, SRLs were treated all as a single part type, but now they are broken down into three:

  • SRL (standard SRL)
  • SRL-R (SRL rated for rescue)
  • SRL-LE (SRL rated for Leading Edge (LE) use)

Leading edge,’ now, has taken on a second meaning. It still functions to identify the end of the work surface and the beginning of a fall hazard, but it now also applies to a specific type of SRL.

So, what is a SRL-LE? It is a SRL that is rated for use in applications in which there is a potential for the SRL to impact the leading edge of the fall hazard. If a worker is using improper equipment in such a scenario, the impact/abrasion/cutting of their lifeline caused by the impact with the leading edge may cause the lifeline to break.

Leading edge work is not only dangerous because of the increased likelihood of falling, but also because the fall could result in damage to the equipment used to stop that fall.

To be compliant with ANSI Z359.14, a SRL-LE must have an integrated shock absorber, and be rated by the manufacturer to be used in LE applications. In our extensive product testing, Guardian has also made the determination that SRL-LEs must have a galvanized steel lifeline, since lifelines made from web or rope are too susceptible to damage.

Guardian Fall Protection is proud to offer a wide selection of SRL-LEs, including our product of the quarter, Diablo Grande SRL, as well as our Edge Angel SRL. We are committed to continuously developing products that are compliant with the most current fall protection standards and regulations.