Boom trucks, scissor lifts, and other Genie Lift work vehicles are everywhere these days. A question we receive regularly is how workers should hook up their fall safety equipment to the work platforms.
Workers operating between 6 and 18 ft. above the closest obstacle, even if they are just passing through those heights, need to be wearing either complete fall restraint or a self-retracting lifeline (SRL). Because the close tether of a fall restraint system limits the work that can be accomplished, many workers and companies now opt for the increasingly affordable SRLs.
A shock-absorbing lanyard is not an acceptable option for fall protection on these types of vehicles. Requiring a full 18.5 ft. of fall clearance, shock chord lanyards don’t provide protection at the lower heights. Because SRLs stop falls within inches, they are ideal for working on moveable platforms. Whether you are working at 8 ft. or 80, an SRL is able to stop your fall quickly.
Depending on the SRL you use, there may be more than one option for attachment. The DBI-SALA Nano-Lok with steel snap hook and carabiner is one that can be used with the housing on the back D-ring of the harness, and the other end connected to the platform attachment point or vice versa.
Generally speaking, we like the close attachment of a Nano-Lok with a single-leg connector which keeps the SRL lower on the back so it won’t bang into your head in the event of a fall. While attachment of the SRL housing on the lift itself may provide a lighter weight on the back of the worker, it’s typically only done when the SRL is going to stay with the vehicle. Leaving your SRL out in the weather isn’t a great idea, so this only works in specific work environments.
The important thing to remember is the lifeline must be hooked on from the inside the lift basket. In other words, it cannot be put over the rail and attached on the outside of the work area. An SRL can only engage when there is pressure against the line. A free-fall over the edge will result in added fall distance and some serious potential swing fall damage.