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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

Horizontal Lifelines are one of the most common components of fall protection. However, they are also one of the most misunderstood. The debut of our new Horizontal Lifeline (HLL) Absorbinator Kits, gives us a chance to go over some of the most common questions when it comes to HLLs. I’ve gone directly to our experts on this. Our VP of Product & Business Development, Bradley Dillon, is nice enough to join us and help clarify a few points when it comes to Horizontal Lifelines in general and Absorbinator Kits in particular. Here they are:

When is engineering required for HLL’s?

Bradley Dillon (BD): Engineering requirements are typically set forth by Architects and Structural Engineers on a project by project basis. There are two main types of systems that fall protection companies provide: pre-engineered off-the-shelf kits and site specific systems. Site specific systems typically require a formal submittal process with the owner, architect, and structural engineer. Pre-engineered kits, such as Guardian’s Absorbinator system, have been designed and tested for a range of applications that pertain to most applications. I would encourage our customers to contact Guardian ESG for more information.

What types of anchor points can accommodate HLL’s?

BD: Any anchor point that is designed to resist a 5,000 pound ultimate load is potentially sufficient for horizontal lifeline attachment. Other points of consideration are relative positioning of anchors, system compatibility with other components and temporary vs. permanent application.

The number of people allowed on a system depends on whether the system is used in fall restraint or arrest and what fall clearance is available. Fall Restraint is defined as a system that prevents a worker free fall from occurring by physically impeding them from reaching the hazard. Fall Arrest is defined as a system that allows a worker to free fall before being arrested. All systems should be used in fall restraint whenever possible as falls can cause injury even when arrest equipment is used properly.

The Guardian Absorbinator system is designed for us with four workers in fall restraint and two workers in fall arrest. However, an OSHA Competent Person should evaluate the fall clearance and lanyard connection equipment to determine if the horizontal lifeline system is safe to use.

Absorbinator Horizontal Lifeline System Installed on King Street Station Canopies

How does the Absorbinator attach to the anchor, and who is qualified to install it?

BD: The Guardian Absorbinator kit comes with shackles, thimbles and cable clips which provide easy attachment to single point anchors and straight forward tensioning. Installation of the system can be performed by any Client per our manufacturer’s instructions but they need to ensure that the system has been evaluated by an OSHA Competent Person prior to use and that each employee using the system has been trained by a Competent Person.

Installation of the system can be performed by any client per our manufacturer’s instructions but they need to ensure that the system has been evaluated by an OSHA Competent Person prior to use and that each employee using the system has been trained by a Competent Person.

What happens to the Absorbinator in the case of a fall, how can it be inspected?

BD: All components of the Guardian Absorbinator system should be removed from service and destroyed in the event a fall has occurred on the system.

Is the Absorbinator a permanent system?

BD: The Guardian Absorbinator can be used for permanent or temporary applications, but product environment, frequency of use, and duration of service need to be considered. While the shock absorbing element of the system is stainless steel type 316; the attaching components and cable are made of galvanized steel. Galvanized steel components can be used for permanent applications but they can corrode quickly when used frequently or in extreme environments. As a result, we can supply stainless steel components for the entire system when requested.

Can the Absorbinator system turn corners?

BD: Yes.

When do I need a HLL, when do I need single anchor points?

BD: When requirements haven’t been set forth by an owner/architect/structural engineer than it is up to the client to determine what system will work best for their application. Typically, if a building is small and only one worker is accessing it at a time than single anchor points are practical. If a building is large or access is required for multiple workers then a horizontal lifeline is a superior option. Again, I would encourage interested parties to contact our ESG team for further assistance in determining what fall protection system will work best for your application.

I’d like to thank Bradley Dillon for taking the time to go over this. As always, we’re here to help. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.