Rope Grabs and Lifelines v. SRL’s

Here is a recent question I got on the application of rope grabs, lifelines and SRL’s. I hope you find it interesting:

My company works in the residential sector of construction and renovations. Most of our work requiring harnesses is scaffold work for exterior finishing. At present we use a vertical line with a rope grab and 4 foot lanyards. I want to eliminate the possibility of workers falling the entire length of the lanyard. Can an SRL be used in conjunction with a vertical line and rope grab assembly? If so which product you would recommend.

Man working on roof fall protection

The rope grab along with a lifeline system does not qualify as an anchor point. So hanging an SRL from a rope grab doesn’t work. For scaffold work, a rope grab is really the best product for the job, and adding an SRL wouldn’t (at least in my opinion) add anything to the equation. Training your guys to keep the rope grab device over their head should help your workers avoid falling the full length of the lanyard.

Roof applications can be a bit trickier. Using a lifeline with a rope grab is by far the most common method, and likely the most practical. Again, an SRL may not be used in conjunction with a lifeline/rope grab combo.

SRL’s are somewhat problematic for roofing. On many residential roofs, the slope is not steep enough to activate the brakes of an SRL. There is a tendency to slide at less than the 4 feet per second needed to engage the brake. When the worker encounters the edge, where a free fall can begin, the shock absorbing features of the SRL are bypassed, potentially subjecting the worker to higher than acceptable deceleration forces. We do offer a leading edge SRL with a shock absorber pack built in to the end of the cable to deal with this issue. The Ultra Lok 3504500 attached to the Capital Safety 2103690 is a good way to avoid this.

Again, if you have any questions specific to your application, feel free to contact us and ask.

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