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Pipe Rack Lifeline Systems

Pipe rack systems present miles of elevated, tiered, and uneven walking surfaces that are typically best protected with horizontal lifeline systems.  By attaching a specified horizontal lifeline system to a series of two or more fixed anchor points, workers can safely span an entire section or level of an elevated pipe rack and complete inspection, maintenance and repair tasks with ease.  Cabled-based pipe rack horizontal lifeline systems are easy to use and offer an excellent mix of unencumbered movement and fall protection that maximizes worker productivity.


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In addition to the fall protection system used while walking and working on top of pipe racks, it is also important to provide a safe means of access and egress from the elevated work area.  Diversified Fall Protection can also design, fabricate, and install fixed ladders, stair access systems, and elevated work platforms to reach the lifeline tie-off point.

Remember, falls are the leading cause of occupational injuries and fatalities each year, and the financial losses associated with a fall can have dire consequences.  Ensure OSHA compliance and worker safety with a pipe rack horizontal lifeline system from the safety experts at Diversified Fall

We are a complete turnkey provider of OSHA compliant horizontal lifelines for pipe rack applications 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

Pipe Rack Horizontal Lifeline Design Considerations 

Although pipe rack applications often lend themselves to a horizontal lifeline systems, there are a number of design considerations which must be considered to ensure the safety of your employees.  Because most pipe rack systems are outside, it is important to specify materials that can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.  Pipe rack Hll’s are typically constructed from 316 stainless steel components to offer corrosion resistance and component longevity.  In addition, because the top tier of a pipe rack system lacks overhead structure to attach a horizontal lifeline for fall arrest, support beams must also be fabricated and installed.  Regardless of level, the horizontal lifeline system design must arrest falls before workers make contact with pipes, support beams, or other structures below the work area. Many pipe rack systems also have areas requiring infrequent inspection or maintenance that make installation of a permanent horizontal lifeline for fall arrest impractical or economically unfeasible.  In these areas, choker cable tie off systems may be an acceptable, cost-effective alternative to a permanent HLL. 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. AT DFP, we recognize that each pipe rack fall protection scenario is unique, requiring a comprehensive hazard assessment and a customized solution. Our years of experience designing and installing horizontal lifelines for pipe rack applications 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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