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What Are Horizontal Lifeline Systems? Everything You Need to Know.

Published on: May 18, 2022

Falls from a great height are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries in the construction, utilities, and maintenance industries. Usually, workers don’t use lifelines because of a lack of available anchor points or movement limitations, but this is a severe health hazard, and precautions are necessary.

Horizontal Lifeline Systems, also known as HLL, provide increased safety, mobility, and reliability during the job. HLL are fall restraint and fall arrest systems used in various applications, such as loading docks and bays, rail runways, rooftops, bridges, etc.

This article will discuss the importance of horizontal lifeline systems and their uses in different applications. Let’s get started!

Horizontal Lifeline Systems Explained

Horizontal Lifeline Systems are standard fall protection systems used when no anchor points are available for personnel tie-off. Simply put, it is a cable attached to two or more anchor points on an elevated work area, like a crane or rooftop, to prevent falls. HLLS can be positioned at the base or overhead of a structure or between these points.

HLLS are an integral part of fall protection systems because, combined with personal protective equipment and gear, a horizontal lifeline system can arrest a fall and limit the force applied to the worker and the fall arrest system.

Difference Between Fall Prevention, Fall Restraint, and Fall Arrest

Before we move on to the benefits of HLLS, we need to discuss the difference between fall prevention, fall restraint, and fall arrest systems, so you can easily understand HLLS and its necessity.

Fall Prevention

Fall prevention systems are passive systems, meaning they don’t require any changes in routine from workers. With security guidelines to prevent falls, such as a rooftop guardrail system, workers usually don’t have to anchor themselves to a system and can go on about their work.

It is the safest approach to safety in construction and maintenance industries but requires investment beforehand.

Fall Restraint

Fall restraint systems prevent workers from falling off a ledge by not letting them get close to the edge. Horizontal lifeline systems are an example of fall restraint systems in which the worker has to wear a harness and connect a lanyard to an anchor point.

Fall restraint systems can be fixed, such as having a single anchor point, suitable for smaller workplaces. Or it can have multiple anchor points for larger workplaces.

Fall Arrest

Fall arrest systems are used as a precautionary measure and a last resort, for instance, when the fall has already happened. Even though all fall protection equipment is designed to prevent the worker from getting close to the edge, accidents can happen, and that’s why you need fall arrest systems.

Fall arrest systems are similar to fall restraint systems, such as Horizontal Lifeline Systems. The worker wears a body harness and is connected to anchor points. The equipment is engineered to withstand the force required to stop falls. Shock absorbers are also added to protect users from severe bodily injuries.

We hope this difference helps you understand why Horizontal Lifeline Systems are essential. Now, let’s move on to the benefits.

Benefits of Horizontal Lifeline Systems

Durable

Horizontal lifeline systems are made with durable components like stainless steel wire and brackets that can withstand the test of time and ensure that fall protection is guaranteed no matter the force and weather conditions.

Multiple Mounting Options

Horizontal lifeline systems have multiple mounting options useful for various applications. HLLS are available for floor-level, side mount, and overhead mounting options depending on the facility and work type. The lifeline is attached to the surface at set intervals and can also change directions to follow the roof edge or other fall hazards.

Continuous Safety

Workers in construction and maintenance sites can benefit from continuous safety and easily maneuver around the area without fall risks.

Multi-User

Depending on your team’s size and the number of users requiring fall protection, the horizontal lifeline system can extend by increasing anchor points.

Versatile

Horizontal lifeline systems are versatile tools that have significantly reduced fall risks and increased work efficiency. The systems can accommodate corners and varying building types. Moreover, they are suitable for multiple industries, such as rooftops, overhead cranes, and pipe racks.

Horizontal Lifeline System Types

Horizontal lifeline systems are available in multiple types, depending on the industry and usage; let’s discuss each in detail.

Roof Horizontal Lifelines

Roof horizontal lifeline systems are engineered to prevent falls when accessing, inspecting, or repairing roofs. There are multiple things you need to consider when designing horizontal roof lifelines, such as structure types and strength, roofing material, and anchor point location. You need to select a system that can easily deflect or prevent a fall without disrupting the supporting structure, the roof. Moreover, the building height and work required also determine the length of the roof lifeline system.

Pipe Rack Horizontal Lifelines

When working on a pipe rack, you need to be careful when accessing and repairing elevated work areas. Using a horizontal lifeline system with two or more anchor points lets you efficiently work on an entire section without any limitations and fall risks. The lifeline systems are made from stainless steel components to withstand corrosion and other external factors.

Crane Rail Lifelines

A crane rail is a narrow walkway placed overhead in a facility and poses the most risk for falls. For prevention, horizontal lifeline systems are excellent. They offer a 100% tie-off guarantee during the whole length of the crane rail by attaching to a series of anchor points located in the surrounding structures.

Overhead Horizontal Lifelines

Overhead horizontal lifelines are suitable for areas where workers need to walk long distances, avoid re-attaching to various anchor points, and benefit from hands-free mobility. Such as loading docks, rail yards, etc.

When designing an overhead horizontal lifeline, you need to use corrosion-resistant material and ensure no obstructions like lights and beams are present in the path.

Each fall protection scenario is different, and thus you need expert guidance for designing and installing a horizontal lifeline system for fall protection. The fall protection systems and equipment are constantly changing, and you need to stay up-to-date with the current trends. Thus, it’s best to leave it to the professional where your life is concerned. Reach out to Flexible Lifeline Systems. They are industry experts with over 20 years of experience in fall protection systems. Call now to book an inspection.

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