Why Are Horizontal Lifelines Important for Fall Protection?

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Horizontal Lifelines (HLL’s) are our solutions to providing a complete fall restraint system without sacrificing mobility. When a worker is within 1.8m of a vertical drop – we call this a ‘fall hazard zone or restricted area’ – they are required by law to be tied off to an anchor point (OSHA 1926.502 and ANSI/IWCA 1-14.1). However, single point anchors may not be an ideal solution in cases where mobility is required over an extended horizontal distance, because they may leave workers open to the dangers of swing fall hazards. In this case, a fully engineered horizontal cable lifeline system is used instead.

How Do Horizontal Lifelines Work?

An HLL is a permanently installed multi span anchored cable system that serves as a point of attachment for travel restraint or fall arrest lanyards. In the image below, you’ll see there are several main components to a horizontal cable lifeline system:

  1. Stainless Steel Cable
  2. Shock Absorber
  3. End, Intermediate, and Corner Anchors (also known as cable supports)
  4. End Connection
  5. Cable Runner
  6. Hands Free Lanyard or Double Lanyard
  7. Full Body Harness

Hands Free vs Double Lanyard

We have 2 types of Horizontal Cable Lifeline systems: Hands Free and Double Lanyard.

Hands Free HLLs employ a cable runner that mechanically bypasses all intermediate anchors, providing the worker continuous ‘hands-free’ protection.

Double Lanyard HLLs are our more economical system but are just as self-explanatory. Instead of mechanically bypassing intermediate supports, the user must manually bypass them using a double lanyard. The double lanyard allows for 100% tie off at all times and is equipped with an inline shock absorber.

What Are HLLs Used For

As briefly mentioned previously, HLLs provide safe horizontal mobility in hazard zones (any area within 1.8m of a vertical drop). In practical settings, this is often a narrow roof area or walkway that requires fall protection over an extended distance.

HLLs are also often used in conjunction with conventional fall arrest systems in or around confined spaces, clerestory areas, ledges, cornices, or to provide safe entry and exit from work zones where window washing, or façade access equipment is installed. For example, if a high-rise window cleaner needs to access window cleaning equipment located in a hazard zone, an HLL provides safe passage and movement to set up primary rigging equipment (such as a stage, cage or bosun’s chair) and lifelines. In other situations, maintenance may be required near a roof’s edge, in which case the worker would tie off to a cable system to safely enter the area and tie off to a separate fall protection system.

See an image below of a Pro-Bel Double Lanyard HLL system.


Careful Engineering is Required

While HLLs are made primarily for providing horizontal travel fall restraint, these systems are also carefully engineered for fall arrest in the event of the system being misused or overloaded. For example, factors such as cable geometry, too many people attached to cable system or accidental rigging of suspension equipment can cause the working load to exceed the maximum. Therefore, Pro-Bel HLLs are engineered with a factor of safety of 2, and other important design considerations are made to ensure the complete safety of workers.

You can take a look at our HLL catalogue here for more technical information such as size charts and equipment details.

If you need professionally engineered systems or would like a consultation, get in touch with us through our website contact form.

Pro-Bel Horizontal Lifeline Equipment

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