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Temporary / Portable Horizontal Lifeline Systems

Portable horizontal lifeline systems are specified when the need for fall protection is temporary in nature or when employees access areas that require infrequent service.  Typical applications for temporary horizontal lifelines include construction sites, structural steel erection, bridge work, and pipe rack installations just to name a few. Remember–temporary work at heights is still subject to OSHA regulations.  Fall protection is required for tasks performed at 4 feet or higher in general industry and 6 feet or higher in construction.

By connecting a portable steel cable or reinforced nylon rope to a series of portable anchor points or stanchions, workers can work safely and efficiently at heights without compromising mobility or range of motion.  When used in combination with personal protective equipment, a temporary horizontal lifeline acts in a manner similar to a permanent HLL:  the fall protection system can arrest a fall, limiting the amount of force that is transferred both to the worker and the stanchions.  Portable horizontal lifeline systems offer ease of installation and provide an excellent mix of unencumbered movement and temporary fall protection that maximizes worker productivity.

We are a complete turnkey provider of OSHA compliant temporary 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

Temporary / Portable Horizontal Life Design Considerations Because most temporary / portable HLL systems are pre-engineered solutions, the emphasis here is less on design considerations and more on safe use of the system.  Great care must be taken to ensure that the stanchions or anchor points are securely attached to suitable support structure.  Each anchor point must be secure enough to withstand the forces generated by a fall and all work areas protected by the temporary HLL must be carefully assessed to ensure that workers do not strike pipes, equipment, or other surfaces below before a fall can be arrested.  Refer to manufacturer’s instructions when multiple users are attached to a temporary horizontal lifeline to ensure the HLL is designed to handle the additional loads.  As a pre-engineered fall protection system, a temporary horizontal lifeline is only as safe as the workers who use it.  Be sure to partner with a fall protection company that is certified to train your employees to use the portable horizontal lifeline in a safe manner. AT DFP, we recognize that each temporary fall protection scenario is unique, requiring a comprehensive hazard assessment and thorough employee training. Regardless of your work environment and various access points, our safety specialists can recommend an OSHA-compliant temporary or portable fall protection solution that meets your specific needs and budget.  To learn more about temporary 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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