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Don’t fear the fall with a lifeline checklist

Prevent injuries and death by using a lifeline checklist to ensure the integrity of onsite personal protective equipment. Find out about the different types of lifelines used in the industry and how to maintain them. Use Lumiform’s free app for all your checklist needs.

What is a lifeline checklist?

A lifeline checklist is a guide that helps when inspecting a harness for safety and maintenance purposes. It contains the parts or components that need a check. Since a lifeline falls under the category of fall protection equipment, maintaining and checking it before use ensures workers of their safety.

Most of the requirements come from the manufacturer itself. However, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) gives suggestions on how to keep the safety of lifelines. According to the organization, a horizontal lifeline inspection should be conducted once a year by a competent person. OSHA defines a competent person as someone who is trained and experienced in identifying hazards and knows how to correct them.

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. Everything that needs to be in your lifeline checklist

2. Maintaining your lifeline

3. A digital solution for maintaining lifelines

Aside from the recommended requirements by the manufacturer, you can add more items to your lifeline checklist based on the conditions and materials the equipment is exposed to in your work area. ANSI, for their part, stated that the recommendations they gave are a minimum.

Protection Against Horizontal and Vertical Falls

The difference between vertical and horizontal harnesses has nothing to do with how they are fastened to a person. Rather, it refers to the type of falls the equipment is designed for.

Horizontal falls are those that happen when the person is standing, running, tripping, or moving. A vertical fall, on the other hand, happens between two levels like falling from a tree to the ground.

ANSI Z359.0 Fall Protection Code defines horizontal and vertical lifelines as:

  • Horizontal Lifeline – a flexible line with couplings or connectors at both ends for securing it horizontally between two moorings.
  • Vertical Lifeline – a vertical harness with connectors, an energy absorber, and a lifeline tensioner component.

A horizontal lifeline helps workers move safely on bridges and scaffolds while a vertical lifeline keeps workers safe when they work near skylight screens, railings, or climbing heights.

Horizontal and vertical lifelines can be temporary or permanent. They come in different types, such as full-body harnesses, lanyards, and self-retracting lifelines. But no matter what type they are, they have to comply with OSHA requirements, limiting the arresting force to 1,800 lbs.

Choose harnesses that provide mobility and comfort for long work hours in a particular climate. Inspect if the full-body harness fits the body snugly without limiting the movement. Take note that if the gear is too loose, the person wearing the harness might fall out of it.. In addition to that, loose leg straps can damage the worker’s genitalia during a fall.

To ensure safety, both supervisors and workers should be trained on how to use this equipment. They should know how to make adjustments and identify possible lifeline hazards.

How to inspect and maintain your lifeline?

Since vertical and horizontal lifelines are different, maintaining them varies. More so, a horizontal lifeline inspection is different from the vertical one.

Here are some tips on how to maintain and inspect lifelines. Although these are not comprehensive, you might want to add them to your lifeline inspection checklist:

Horizontal Lifeline Inspection and Maintenance

  • Check all bolts, screws, nuts, and other fastening devices to make sure nothing is loose or missing. Also, check if they have been changed in any way.
  • Inspect if there’s a sign of metal deterioration like corrosion or rust.
  • Look out for broken wires, broken threads, and any other signs of damage.
  • Check all connectors or sleeves if they are distorted, dented, and cracked. Make sure that they are properly installed as well.
  • Check the impact detection of the system. Does it show if the lifeline was involved in a fall? If it did, take it out of service immediately.
  • Make sure to check if the manufacturer has some specific guidelines or requirements regarding the care and maintenance of the lifeline.
  • Check if there are parts that have been compromised by hazards, such as abrasive structures and sharp edges.

Vertical lifeline inspection and maintenance

  • Make sure that the inspection of the body harness and the ladder structure follows the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspection should be done before use.
  • Check the top-to-bottom brackets as well as the carrier cable, cable guides, and fasteners.
  • Also carefully check if the rollers, cable shoe, gravity stop, and fasteners are functioning properly and if there are no damages. The safety sleeve should be inspected by a competent person certified by OSHA.
  • Look out if the markings and service labels are present and fully legible.

Unlike horizontal lifelines, vertical harnesses do not generally require scheduled maintenance. However, they should be cleaned and lightly oiled when necessary. Keep the detachable cable sleeve in a cool, dry, clean area. It should not be placed directly on sunlight or in areas where there are chemical vapors.

Employees working from heights while wearing a lifeline

How can a digital solution benefit your company?

Employees need extra protection when they’re working from heights. After all, one trip, slip, or fall and, well, it’s a long way down. But they can trip, slip, or fall as much as they want if they are wearing the proper personal protective gear (PPE). It’s the responsibility of employers to provide safe lifelines to their workers. Worn out, torn, or frayed lifelines are liable to lawsuits if they cause a fall that results in an injury or death. However, with the Lumiform app, you can conduct inspections as frequently as necessary to provide a safe working environment for all your employees.

The super intuitive mobile application helps you:

  • Schedule lifeline inspections from anywhere and at any time. You can also automatically assign them to responsible colleagues via a mobile device—online or offline.
  • The flexible form construction kit will allow you to convert any of your old paper lists into digital checklists within minutes, streamlining the inspection process.
  • Prevent injuries and deaths with Lumiform’s EHS software. With Lumiform app’s instant messaging feature, you can report lifeline flaws immediately and save lives.
  • All data is sent instantly bundled into a report and sent to the cloud to be reviewed at a later date.
  • By using a digital application, you can complete checks up to 30%-40% faster than you would with paper and pen. This frees up time to do what really matters: finishing the job.

Rock climber wearing a harness with a lifeline

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