When working at height, your lanyard in conjunction with other equipment will be your saving grace if you fall. Our product specialists have explained different types of lanyards in the Safety Harness & Lanyard Blog. However, if your lanyard is not properly maintained or inspected, you run a very high risk of having a catastrophic accident. That being said, let’s dive into what to look for when inspecting or replacing your lanyard. You may also download our lanyard inspection checklist to assist your inspection work.
One thing to inspect on your safety web lanyard is its webbing which is the fabric used to hold the whole thing together. If yours is a cable or rope lanyard, then go to point 6 and 7.
To inspect this, you are going to want to take 15-20 centimetres of the webbing and bend it into an upside-down U, so you'll have a better view of it. We recommend starting with one end and go all the way to the other. You should check the outside and the inside integrity of the webbing, and look for things such as tears, chemical wear, mould or growths, broken stitches or burns. If there is any of the following, remove from service immediately.
Check along all webbing/rope for any signs of damage. If the stitches are visibly coming up, that is the most evident sign you need to replace the lanyard. Some other things to look for in the stitching is if it is missing entirely, torn, loose/pulled stitches, or if the stitching is stretched in any way. If any of these things happen, do not continue using the lanyard.
Lanyard hardware that should be inspected includes snap hooks, carabiners, buckles and rings. For those with a gate/opening, it is very important to make sure they open smoothly with no difficulty. This means they do not get locked or stuck when opening them. If this safety component does not open properly, discard it immediately.
Another important factor to check is if the mechanism closes and locks on its own. You need to look very closely to make sure that the mechanism fully closes and locks. Gates must fully and close and firmly engage the nose of the hook without lateral movement. If the lock does not close correctly, it is ruled unsafe and needs to be removed from use.
When examining these components, you should also look for chips taken out of the metal, corrosion, cracks, dents, sharp edges, and heat damage. If any of these are found on the safety lanyard hardware, remove it from service immediately.
The easiest thing to do is to check the labels. If the label is not attached to the lanyard or is missing, the safety lanyard is unusable. Also, if the labels are attached but not legible, the whole lanyard needs to be replaced.
Energy absorber pack is folded webbing that is sewn together and contained in a plastic wrap or a pouch. In the event of a fall, the pack first tears out of the container, and then gradually unfolds by ripping out the stitches. This process decelerates the fall.
The outer portion of the pack should first be examined for burn holes and tears. Stitching on areas where the pack is sewn to D-rings, belts or lanyards should be examined for loose strands, rips and deterioration. It's very important to look for the warning flag or signs of deployment. Deployment suggests that the lanyard may have been exposed to forces of fall arrest and this energy absorbing lanyard must be removed from service. The picture below (right) shows that the shock pack stitching has been ripped out, i.e cannot be used to decelerate a fall.
If you have a cable lanyard- a metal piece instead of fabric, you'll look at the cable for any obvious breaks in the metal. If the metal is broken in any way, discontinue its use immediately. The next issue that would signal this piece needs to be replaced is the metal being discoloured due to weathering or chemical exposure, the wires being separated and not tight to each other, or any chips or fraying of the wire cables. If any of these things occur, please refrain from using them.
If the lanyard is made of rope, you will inspect this in a similar method outlined in our rope inspection blog. However, something to look for when inspecting the rope on your safety lanyard would be to look for any tears. If there are any tears, it would be considered unsafe for use. Additional factors to look for when inspecting the integrity of the rope safety lanyard would be if it is discoloured, has burn marks, has growths such as mould, abrasions, and or it is unsplicing. If any of these factors are compromised in any way, it is time to replace it.
Checkmate Adjustable Rope Lanyard and Liftall Wire Rope
ANSI A10.32-2012 states: All fall protection equipment shall be inspected at least every six months after initial service by a competent person.
ANSI Z359 states: Equipment shall be inspected by the user before each use and, additionally, by a competent person other than the user at intervals of no more than one year.
OSHA 1910.140 & 1926.502 requires no formal inspection period, only inspection by the user before each use.
- 1910.140(c)(18) Specifically states: Personal fall protection systems must be inspected before initial use during each work shift for mildew, wear, damage, and other deterioration, and defective components must be removed from service.
- 1926.502(d)(21) Specifically states: Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service.
The key elements to look for are lanyard material (webbing, cable or rope), hardware (buckle, ring, snap hook), stitching and label. If it is an energy-absorbing lanyard, the energy absorber pack has to be examined carefully.
While there is no set “lifespan” for a lanyard, the max lifetime of certain equipment such as Petzl lanyards can up to 10 years from the date of manufacture. A 3M DBI/SALA product can be used as long as the item does not reveal any damage, wear, or other characteristics that will affect the product's performance.
Fall protection equipment should be removed from service on the evidence of defects, damage or deterioration; once it has been subjected to impact loading; or on the expiration of the manufacturer’s specified service life, whichever comes first.
Our goal at MTN is to deliver the safest and best lanyards to our customers. We pride ourselves on providing our customers and friends with only the best high-quality safety lanyards from some of the leading companies on the market. We offer fall protection equipment from top-notch companies such as DBI SALA, Checkmate, Protecta, and FA2!// ]]>