How to Use Lifeline Rope
rope is available in vertical and horizontal lifelines. The vertical
lifeline ropes are created for a single worker and can take the place
of a lanyard while horizontal lifeline ropes can be used by several
workers at once for fall arrest. A horizontal lifeline rope is
typically installed high above the workers.
Each lifeline rope
should come with easy-to-understand instructions in several languages,
including English, Spanish, and French. Follow your brand’s specific
guidelines for usage, maintenance, and care as this may vary between
manufacturers. If in doubt, ask your employer before using the lifeline
rope with the fall protection system.
Before using a lifeline
rope inspect it for any wear and tear. Frayed spots may indicate
excessive use or damage. If the rope was used during a previous fall
arrest or used for an activity it was not designed to accommodate, use
a different lifeline rope immediately.
How you use the lifeline
rope will depend on the nature of your work. Roofers and residential
construction workers that use ladders may need to use a ladder
restraint system with a rope grab on a flexible anchorage line. Workers
that climb towers may need to use a vertical fall arrest system with a
rope grab or snap hook end.
Why Use Lifeline Rope
rope is designed to bare a great deal of weight, so never use regular
hardware store-type rope with a fall protection system. Lifeline ropes
are made from some of the strongest and durable rope available and
meets OSHA regulations.
According to OSHA requirements, an
employee working at elevations four feet and higher in the general
industry should use a fall protection system. If you work in a
shipyard, you must use a fall protection system at elevations of five
feet and higher. Construction workers are required to use a fall
protection system at elevations of six feet and higher.
work, residential construction, bricklaying, and other types of work
that require climbing or suspension should have a fall protection
system in place to avoid falls, injuries, and accidental death. Workers
using scaffolding and ladders are required to use lifeline rope. In the
case of ladder standards, OSHA requires that self-retracting lifelines
are placed at intervals not to exceed 150 feet.
penalties have increased in 2016 to deter willful and repeated
violations. Wearing a suitable harness and using a lifeline rope with
your company’s fall protection system will keep you from violating OSHA
You will need to use lifeline rope with a tripod
rescue system to ensure the rope does not break during a rescue
attempt. Many tripod rescue systems accommodate lifeline ropes up to
one-fourth inch thick and 50 to 60 feet in length.
Lifeline Rope Options
lifeline rope needs to be made of a durable material that is 100
percent resistant to mildew and absorbs high impact energy. A specific
material known as Polydac is used in some lifeline ropes and absorbs up
to 12 times as much energy as Manila and 50 percent more energy than
Lifeline ropes made of a polyester and polypropylene
blend are available. Some of these include a built-in self-locking snap
hook on one end.
Poly steel rope is also widely used in damp or
wet environments. This lifeline rope does not absorb water and
maintains a longer life overall due to its synthetic makeup that
resists cuts and abrasions. It is two times stronger than polypropylene.
using a lifeline, check with the manufacturer for the minimum breaking
strength and OSHA and ANSI guidelines for capacity. Some lifelines have
a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 to 11,000 pounds and a capacity of
310 pounds (ANSI) and 400 pounds (OSHA). All lifelines should meet OSHA
Regulations 29 CFR 1910.66 and 1926.502.
Some brands offer the lifeline rope in a kit with a shock absorber, positioning device, extension lanyard, and snap hooks.
on the brand, lifeline ropes are available in various lengths with
hooks. The hooks may be heavy duty or double locking snap hooks or
self-locking snap hooks. The lengths typically available are 25 feet,
50 feet, 75 feet, 100 feet, 150 feet, 200 feet, and 250 feet.
Other Options and Tips for Lifeline Ropes
on the brand you choose, the weight capacity may depend on the length,
so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instruction sheet before use.
lifeline portable rope kits are available and typically include a two
person horizontal line, two carabiners, two cross-arm straps, two
connector rings, energy absorber, and 60 feet of rope. Always confirm
the weight capacity for a horizontal lifeline rope kit before use. Some
brands have a weight capacity of 310 pounds per person with a two
You can purchase Fall Protection Rescue Kits
that feature lifeline rope. These kits are typically OSHA compliant and
are suitable for rescue missions. Usually two people can use the system
during a rescue or evacuation. The weight limit for two people total is
approximately 495 pounds. The controller device allows for a constant
descent and requires no assembly.
These kits feature a lifeline
rope up to 650 feet, a rope descent and rescue controller, attachment
sling, carabiners, and a gear bag. The lifeline rope length varies
between kits. You can find kits with lifeline ropes of 160 feet, 325
feet, 490 feet, and 650 feet in length.
Choosing a lifeline rope
can be easy as long as it meets OSHA regulations and will last in your
typical work environment. Your employer should schedule a lifeline rope
safety course, fall protection safety training, and rescue system
training prior to use. Make sure you understand how each piece works
within the system that will ultimately save lives by avoiding fatal