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Should I use an energy absorbing lanyard or a self-retracting lanyard?

By Safeopedia Staff | Last updated: May 18, 2018
Presented by Ergodyne

Energy absorbing lanyards are also known as shock absorbing lanyards. They are connecting devices used with safety harnesses, the purpose of which is fall arrest. Energy absorbing lanyards are used at workplaces where heights exceed six feet. Energy absorbing lanyards have a built-in woven inner core, which expands when a fall occurs significantly reducing the impact of the fall.

Self-retracting lanyards are also used with a safety harness. They use inertia to stimulate a braking mechanism. This is a component of a block unit in the lanyard. This mechanism activates when there is a fall greater than four and a half feet per second. The outer ring has spring loaded arms to slow the fall. This type of lanyard is designed to prevent a fall, rather than arrest a fall.

Neither type of lanyard is always the right connecting device. The choice of which lanyard to use is based on the type of work to be done and the workplace environment. It is crucial to consider fall distance when deciding which type of connecting device is safest for the task.


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