Lanyard Use in Aerial Lifts

During a recent webinar on aerial lifts, Eric asked the following.  In order to share it, we decided to post it on the blog.  As paraphrased from Eric’s chat:  It is clear that a shortened lanyard should be used in an aerial lift to keep the worker from falling out of the basket.  Should the lanyard be an energy-absorbing lanyard, or a non-energy absorbing lanyard?

Answer:  Although it is possible to safely use either lanyard in a fall restraint system for an aerial lift, LJB’s recommendation is that you only use energy-absorbing lanyards for three reasons:

1.  Energy absorbing lanyards are typically designed to deploy at a force greater than 450 pounds.  Therefore, there should not be a concern that standard use would cause an unnecessary deployment of the energy absorber.

2.  If someone misuses the lanyard or goes through a fall with one, you have a reduced chance of a catastrophic event if an energy-absorbing lanyard is used.  Reduced force to the person’s body will limit injury and reduced force to the anchorage will decrease the likelihood of the lift overturning or other failure.  Although a worker will fall farther when using an energy-absorbing lanyard, the consequences will likely be less severe.

3.  Use of a non-energy-absorbing lanyard with an aerial lift leads to greater potential for misusing this type of lanyard at other locations within your organization or at your facility.  If a worker sees a non-energy absorbing lanyard used in an aerial lift, they may make an assumption that they can use it for other fall arrest situations.  It is important to use an energy-absorbing lanyard in all fall arrest circumstances, so using an energy-absorbing lanyard in an aerial lift minimizes the chance of misuse.

Remember, when using a lanyard for a fall arrest system, which a few lifts do allow, always use an energy-absorbing lanyard and remember to confirm your fall clearances.

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