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Horizontal Lifelines

Horizontal Lifeline Systems, also known as HLL systems, are utilized in many of the fall arrest and fall restraint systems given great utility and flexibility. Horizontal lifeline systems are common in work areas lacking overhead anchor points available for personnel tie–off. In simplest form, the horizontal lifeline consists of a cable attached to two or more anchor points on a roof-top, crane runway, bridge or outdoor construction site, or any other elevated work area that poses a fall risk to personnel.

When used in combination with personal protective equipment, a horizontal lifeline can arrest a fall, limiting the amount of force that is transferred both to the worker and the fall arrest system. This same combination of horizontal lifeline, body harness, and lanyard can also serve as a fall restraint system, limiting the At Risk Worker’s (AWR) ability to move close enough to fall over an unprotected leading edge. The fall restraint and fall arrest properties of horizontal lifelines make the HLL an integral part of many fall protection systems.

Horizontal lifelines can offer the following advantages:

  • Provides fall protection coverage across a wide distance. The distance spanned by a horizontal lifeline is limited only by the ability to attach a series of anchor points to surrounding structure. For example, crane rail HLL systems can safely span distances in excess of 600 feet.
  • Impart smaller footprints on elevated work spaces
  • Lighter than fabricated steel solutions
  • Constructed from stainless steel components, horizontal lifelines offer corrosion resistance and exceptional component longevity.
  • Does not require the time to custom fabricate relative to steep fall protection systems
  • Finally, fall protection safety specialists can engineer a horizontal lifeline system to accommodate the special characteristics of your elevated work space, from corners to the absence of pre-existing anchor points and more.

Special care must be taken to account for the loads on various anchor points and deflection in the event of a fall, thus requiring certified and experienced engineering and installation capabilities.  Each anchor point must be secure enough to withstand the forces associated a fall and a thorough review of the work area is needed to ensure that a worker will not strike pipes, equipment, or other surfaces when falling.  Load and deflection rates are determined by a number of factors, including pre-tension of the cable, length of the area spanned by the horizontal lifeline, and the number of workers connected to the system.

Horizontal Lifeline Applications
  • Bridge Maintenance
  • Construction
  • Structural Steel Erection
  • Roofing / Roof Top Maintenance
  • Railcar
  • Overhead Cranes
  • Aircraft Hangars
  • Loading Docks
  • Temporary Construction
AT DFP, we recognize that each fall protection scenario is unique, requiring a comprehensive hazard assessment and customized solution. From permanent horizontal lifeline installations, to temporary, reusable, portable HLL solutions, our safety engineers have the experience needed to help you fully comply with all OSHA fall protection regulations.

Horizontal Lifelines

1926.502(d)(8)

Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system, which maintains a safety factor of at least two.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems

1926.502(d)(16)

Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:

1926.502(d)(16)(ii)

limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;

1926.502(d)(16)(iii)

be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level;

1926.502(d)(16)(iv)

bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and,

1926.502(d)(16)(v)

have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.

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