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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

Horizontal Lifelines (HLLs) are one of the most effective anchor systems for situations that require a high degree of movement for multiple workers. Often installed on completed projects as a means to provide protection for future work, HLLs can span hundreds of feet, allowing a worker to traverse a large area without the need to transition between separate anchors. Like any fall protection product line, there are a few differences between HLLs and standard anchor systems that deserve a little attention.


Temporary vs. Permanent

One question that often comes up is, “What is the difference between a temporary HLL and a permanent HLL?” Generally speaking, a temporary HLL is one that is bought and installed by the end user. You’ll see these HLLs in use on in-progress jobsites where they are installed during one stage of construction, and then moved (usually up to the next floor) as work proceeds. When work is complete, the HLL is removed completely and stored until the next time it is needed. A permanent HLL system is generally an engineered system whereby a dedicated fall protection engineering group, such as our ESG division, custom-creates a solution for a specific situation, and are left in place the proverbial 24/7/365. You can see these on the top of a finished building, along the sides of bridge spans, or just about anywhere that requires a great deal of freedom of movement. These systems are meant to be in place at all times so that workers can utilize them in an instant if needed. Engineered permanent systems are often certified, meaning a Qualified Person tests the installed system and provides documentation to the building owner that the system meets the criteria set forth by OSHA. As you might expect, an engineered permanent HLL system must also be periodically certified to maintain OSHA compliance.

Permanent systems also require different materials due to the fact that they will be exposed to persistent environmental conditions that a temporary system just isn’t going to see. For example, while you are sitting comfortably in your air conditioned office on a blazing summer afternoon in Atlanta, GA, your permanently installed HLL system is feeling the full force of the sun’s UV rays, which can degrade and weaken certain materials. And when it’s -10º in Anchorage, so is your HLL. In these cases, stainless or galvanized lifelines are preferable to kernmantle or nylon for obvious reasons, but that’s as far as I’ll go in recommending a solution because, frankly, it gets a lot more complicated than just lifelines. For more information on engineered permanent solutions, get in contact with our ESG department – with about 800 systems so far installed, they’ve got an answer for anything you can come up with.

Going back to the temporary systems, Guardian offers several solutions that, short of a full-on custom install, should have you covered in a majority of situations where an HLL is appropriate. Probably the best way to organize our products is by worker capacity (both fall restraint and fall arrest), because you’ll likely know how many workers you’ll need to do a job before you start implementing a solution.

2 Restraint / 2 Arrest

Kernmantle HLL System Part #04638

Available in 30, 60, and 100 foot lengths. The low-stretch kernmantle rope is extremely resilient and its tough outer sheathing helps protect the inner core from abrasions. The durable nature of this system makes in an excellent long-term value. This complete HLL kit includes 5,000 lbs. kernmantle lifeline w/ shock absorber, (2) O-Rings, (2) Cross Arm straps, rope tensioner, self-locking carabiners, and storage sack.



Polyester HLL System Part #04628

Available in 30, 60, and 100 foot lengths. A great option for interior overhead applications, its lifeline has slightly more "give" than a kernmantle lifeline. Kit includes 5,000 lbs. polyester lifeline, (2) O-Rings, (2) Cross Arm straps, rope tensioner, self-locking carabiners, and storage sack.


Big Boss HLL System w/ Hitchclip Part #30812

Length: 82’ The Big Boss w/ Hitchclip system is an excellent solution for rooftop applications where multiple workers need to frequently move the HLL as work progresses. The included Hitchclip anchors are easy to install and remove, and can be used an individual anchor points when HLL is not installed. Includes 5,000 lbs. polyester lifeline, (2) O-Rings, 3-Pack of Hitchclips, rope tensioner, self-locking carabiners, and storage sack.



4 Restraint / 4 Arrest

Big Boss HLL System Part #30800

Length: 82’ The standard Big Boss system works with any pair of 5,000 lb. anchors, be they Cross Arm straps, D-Bolts or CB Anchors (see restriction on Hitchclips). When used as designed, the Big Boss will handle up to four workers, which makes complex, multi-worker problems (like installing solar panels), simpler to solve. The system includes 5,000 lbs. polyester lifeline, (2) O-Rings, rope tensioner, self-locking carabiners, and storage sack.



4 Restraint / 2 Arrest

Absorbinator Cable HLL System w/ Cross Arm Straps Parts #15045, 01400, 10787

This custom-length cable HLL system employs our Absorbinator shock absorber along with Cross Arm straps, and is an excellent solution for rough conditions. It can also be configured with different anchors, just give customer service a call to inquire about other options.



2 Restraint / 0 Arrest

Big Boss HLL System w/ EcoAnchor Parts #30800, 30801

For applications that do not allow for rooftop penetration and lack conventional anchor points, the Big Boss HLL w/ EcoAnchor system is for you. The water-filled EcoAnchors combined with our heavy-duty Big Boss HLL accommodate two workers in Fall Restraint, however, Fall Arrest applications for this system are prohibited.


It can be a bit complicated to keep all of these configurations straight, so I’ve put them in a handy graphic for you that you can download and share as needed. For anything outside of these, or if you need a more customized solution, give us a shout by phone or email, we’re always glad to help. 800.466.6385 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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