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Engineered Systems

A Fine, But Hidden Mechanism

Due to their relatively complex nature, self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) require a bit more attention than other pieces of fall protection equipment during an inspection. Unlike lanyards or anchor points, whose vital components are readily accessible, much of what makes an SRL such an effective piece of equipment is hidden from view. Springs, brake pawls, pressure plates, and even the cable or web assembly itself are all contained unseen inside of the housing.


Step by Step

To make inspections that much more thorough, we’ve created a handy inspection form to use as a guideline when you inspect your SRL. Remember, ANSI states, “All fall protection shall be inspected at least every six months by a Competent Person,” so we’ve geared our inspection form for this very important task. However, given the fact that a full inspection of an SRL should take just a few minutes, we recommend that EVERY user do a full inspection before each work day. A great idea is to grab a co-worker or two and do all of your inspections together. That way, if you find something of concern, you have the opportunity for a second set of eyes to look at it. And of course, if anything does look concerning, grab your onsite Competent Person for a full inspection to determine whether the SRL should be taken out of service.




One Last Thing...

Before you download the inspection sheet and go on your way, I want to direct your attention to an often-overlooked item on the list. When you inspect the cable, looking for kinks, twists, birdcages or the like, don’t forget to also inspect the swage termination! On a cable SRL you will see a black, rubber handle at the end of the cable next to the snap hook. Underneath this handle is the swage termination for the cable lifeline. To inspect this part of the cable, extract a small amount of lifeline from the SRL (you can even do this when you are inspecting the full length of the cable and testing retraction tension), and then slide the rubber handle away from the snap hook. You will see a bronze swage, which secures the loop of cable on which the snap hook is installed.  Check all contact points of the cable as it passes through the swage for loose/broken strands or harsh bends. If you see ANY cut strands of cable or other excessive wear, take the SRL out of service and return it to Guardian for repair. While not an overly-common point of wear, we have found that swage inspection is often missed, and in the interest of making your inspection as effective as possible, we just wanted to give it an extra bit of attention.


So, there you have it - a formal reminder to inspect your SRL every time you put it into service, and even a checklist to help make sure do it completely. If you still have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call to chat, we are happy to help, and to make sure that even though some things like swages might be out of sight, they shouldn’t be out of mind.


<< Click the image to download the SRL inspection form >>