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Overhead Lifeline Systems

Overhead horizontal lifeline systems are utilized when placing the HLL at foot level will not arrest a fall before a worker comes in contact with obstructions below or in instances where the distance spanned makes use of an overhead rigid beam system unfeasible. Overhead horizontal lifelines allow workers to safely span long distances without needing to stop and re-attach to a new anchor point. L and T gallows systems found in rail yards, loading areas and crane rail applications are common examples of systems that include an overhead horizontal lifeline. Overhead HLL’s combine continuous, hands free mobility and OSHA-compliant fall protection to keep your workers safe and productive while working at heights.

We are a complete turnkey provider of OSHA compliant overhead horizontal lifeline systems and have years of design and installation experience.  Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection requirements.

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Design Considerations

Overhead Horizontal Life Design Considerations

For outside overhead horizontal lifelines, it is important to specify corrosion resistant materials such as 316 stainless that can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements. In addition to environmental considerations, care must be taken to ensure the path of the HLL does obstruct the path of cranes or come into contact with lights, pipes, or other structures. Most importantly, the system design must arrest a worker’s fall before coming into contact with equipment below the work area. For crane rail applications, an overhead horizontal lifeline may only be used when the crane is locked out or a watchman is available to supervise the work area. Special care must also be taken to account for load and deflection rates which are determined by a number of factors, including pre-tension of the cable, length of the area spanned, and the number of workers connected to the system. The distance spanned by an overhead horizontal lifeline is limited only by the ability to attach a series of anchor points to surrounding structure; crane rail HLL systems can safely span distances in excess of 600 feet. DFP fall protection safety specialists can engineer a horizontal lifeline system to accommodate the special characteristics of your elevated work space, from bends to the absence of pre-existing anchor points and more. AT DFP, we recognize that your fall protection scenario and access points are unique, requiring a comprehensive hazard assessment and a customized solution. Our years of experience designing and installing overhead HLL’s will keep your employees safe and your facility in compliance with all OSHA fall protection regulations. To learn more about horizontal lifeline systems, or to discuss your application, contact the fall protection specialists at DFP for more information.

OSHA Regulations

  • The employer must ensure that each horizontal lifeline:
    • Is designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person; and 1910.140(c)(11)(ii)
    • Is part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two. 1910.140(c)(12)
      Anchorages used to attach to personal fall protection equipment must be independent of any anchorage used to suspend employees or platforms on which employees work. Anchorages used to attach to personal fall protection equipment on mobile work platforms on powered industrial trucks must be attached to an overhead member of the platform, at a point located above and near the center of the platform. 1910.140(c)(13)   Anchorages, except window cleaners' belt anchors covered by paragraph (e) of this section, must be:
    • Capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) for each employee attached; or 1910.140(c)(13)(ii)
    • Designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall protection system that maintains a safety factor of at least two. 1910.140(c)(14)
    • Travel restraint lines must be capable of sustaining a tensile load of at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN). 1910.140(c)(15)
    • Lifelines must not be made of natural fiber rope. Polypropylene rope must contain an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor. 1910.140(c)(16)
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems:  System performance criteria. In addition to the general requirements in paragraph (c) of this section, the employer must ensure that personal fall arrest systems: 1910.140(d)(1)(i)
    • Limit the maximum arresting force on the employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN); 1910.140(d)(1)(ii)
    • Bring the employee to a complete stop and limit the maximum deceleration distance the employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.1 m); 1910.140(d)(1)(iii)
    • Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of the employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system; and... 1910.140(d)(1)(iv)
    • Sustain the employee within the system/strap configuration without making contact with the employee's neck and chin area. 1910.140(d)(1)(v)
      If the personal fall arrest system meets the criteria and protocols in appendix D of this subpart, and is being used by an employee having a combined body and tool weight of less than 310 pounds (140 kg), the system is considered to be in compliance with the provisions of paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section. If the system is used by an employee having a combined body and tool weight of 310 pounds (140kg) or more and the employer has appropriately modified the criteria and protocols in appendix D, then the system will be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (iii). 1910.140(d)(2)   The employer must ensure that:
    • On any horizontal lifeline that may become a vertical lifeline, the device used to connect to the horizontal lifeline is capable of locking in both directions on the lifeline. 1910.140(d)(2)(ii)
    • Personal fall arrest systems are rigged in such a manner that the employee cannot free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m) or contact a lower level. A free fall may be more than 6 feet (1.8 m) provided the employer can demonstrate the manufacturer designed the system to allow a free fall of more than 6 feet and tested the system to ensure a maximum arresting force of 1,800 pounds (8 kN) is not exceeded. 1910.140(d)(3)
    • Body belts. Body belts are prohibited as part of a personal fall arrest system.

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