Class A & Class B SRLs

From our friends at Guardian Fall Protection

SRLs Have Class – Two Actually: Understanding the Difference Between Class A & Class B SRLs

In August of 2012, ANSI, in their Z359.14-2012 Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems (since revised to Z359.14-2014), divided SRLs into two classes. These classes are defined based on an SRL’s maximum potential arrest distance and maximum potential average arrest force. SRLs with a maximum arrest distance of 24 inches are labelled Class A, and those with a maximum arrest distance of 54 inches are labelled Class B. Average arrest forces are capped at 1,350 lbs. for Class A SRLs, and 900 lbs. for Class B SRLs, with the maximum arrest force of 1,800 lb. for both classes.

Breaking It Down.

Going only by the numbers, it seems no matter which SRL you choose you will be trading arrest force for arrest distance. On its face, that’s true. But if we take a more nuanced look into the real-world meaning of those numbers, it becomes clear that what seems like a compromise is actually a means to provide the most appropriate solution for a given fall protection scenario.

First, it’s important to understand that both classes of SRLs are OSHA 1926.500 subpart M compliant because they both, “limit [the] maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness.” This means that no matter what class of SRL you choose, you can rest assured of OSHA compliance. When it comes to the difference in average arresting force between the two classes (1350 lb. and 900lb., respectively) it is really just a by-product of how quickly the SRL stops a fall.


Read the rest of this post here.

Swing Into Summer, Not a Wall – Avoiding Swing Falls

From our friends at Guardian Fall Protection


Read any instruction manual for a Self-Retracting Lifeline and I’d bet dimes to doughnuts you’ll read about how to calculate Fall Clearance. At least you will in Guardian instruction manuals. Calculating Fall Clearance is a vital part of the proper use of an SRL, because after all, what’s the point of using fall protection if – because of poor equipment choice or practice – you hit the ground anyway? Parallel to calculating Fall Clearance is taking care to avoid potential Swing Falls. Swing Falls happen when an anchor point is not directly above the location of a fall. At the onset of a fall, gravity pulls the worker down, and as the lifeline becomes taut, the worker begins to move in a pendulum motion in a effort to bring the lifeline to a point directly below the anchor. What happens next depends on what is below the anchor. If nothing, the worker goes on a wild ride, spinning and swinging until all the energy of the fall is expended and they find themselves hanging in their harness. If there is a wall or other obstruction, the worker will swing with the combined force generated by gravity and the tension force of the anchor (meaning a greater force than falling alone) into that obstruction. The result is obvious – not good.

Swing Falls Hurt>>

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The Risks of Buying Used Fall Protection Equipment

From our friends at Guardian Fall Protection…

With the successful completion of OSHA’s Stand Down for Safety event last week, I’m sure there will be a lot more people in the market for fall protection gear. If you are, it might cross your mind to take a look through the local classifieds to see if you can find a good deal on some “slightly used but not abused” gear, such as harnesses, lanyards, or maybe even an SRL. Good idea? After all, if the gear looks good and seems to work, it should be just fine, right? Not so fast.

Basic RGB

Let’s say you find a harness. It looks good, doesn’t have any frayed or cut webbing, and, by golly, the impact indicator is still intact. Best of all, the guy is selling it for half of the original price, not bad! But before you go laying out… read more

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First-Man-Up: Safely Installing the First Anchor On Your Jobsite

From the Guardian Fall Protection blog:

“If there’s one thing we know about requirements for fall protection during construction work it’s that, if you are over 6’ above the next highest working surface (or less in certain states), you are legally required to use equipment specially designed to protect you from falling; the second you reach that height, you must be protected. Not doing so, aside from the obvious physical dangers it presents, may also put your company in line for a hefty fine from OSHA.

We also know that a mandatory component of a fall protection system is the anchorage connector. Because, after all, all the lanyards and harnesses in the world aren’t going to help if you don’t have anywhere to connect them.

And at some point along the line, obviously, we need to install our anchorage connector in order to be able to use it.

First-Man-Up: Safely Installing the First Anchor On Your Jobsite

But wait a second…

We’re seemingly being presented with a kind of chicken or egg type paradox here…and it can leave a foul (sorry…bird humor) taste in our mouths. To work in construction at heights 6’ or above, you must be tied-off to an anchor point or otherwise protected. But to install your anchor point (the first one at least), you must work at heights 6’ or greater without being tied-off.

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Window Washing Anchors vs. Fall Protection Anchors


If a building has fall protection anchors permanently mounted, can you use them for window washing? Can you, inversely, use window washing anchors for fall protection?

The answer to both questions is “NO!”

Charlie Garcia from Guardian Fall Protection explains why in his blog.

There’s also a link on that post to a downloadable pdf “Window Washing vs. Fall Protection Anchorages Fact Sheet” that explains more in detail the hows and whys of the regulations.

Definitely worth checking out.

Putting Together a Fall Protection Plan


If you work at heights, you need a fall protection plan. Putting something together, something that is going to satisfy an OSHA inspector when they come around, isn’t so easy to do however. If you need a little help, a good place to start is the Guardian Fall Protection “8 Things to Address in a Fall Protection Plan“.

Here are the 8 bullet points:

1. Assess all fall hazards in the work area.

2. The fall protection applications employees will be working in, and the equipment needed to work safely.

3. Correct procedures for assembly, maintenance, inspection, and disassembly of fall protection systems used.

4. Correct procedures for handling, storage, and securing of tools and materials.

5. Training methods for the employees working on the jobsite.

6. The method for prompt, safe rescue of injured workers (i.e., your rescue plan).

7. The fall protection plan must be jobsite specific.

8. The fall protection plan must be available to employees.

Go to for a breakdown of each of the bullet points.

Guardrail Guidelines

Today’s post is an article by Jack Cameron of Guardian Fall Protection on guardrail guidelines

Guardrail Guidelines

By Jack Cameron

One of the simplest ways to keep people safe on a worksite is the use of guardrails. However, depending where you are, your guardrail might not be compliant with OSHA or your state regulations. While OSHA is a federal agency and their standards apply throughout the United States, many individual states have their own version of OSHA that not only includes OSHA’s standards, but additional state specific regulations.

OSHA’s guardrail requirements are fairly simple.

  • Top rail must be 42″ plus or minus three inches from the working surface.
  • Top rail must be capable of withstanding at least 200 pounds in an outward or downward direction without bending lower than 39″.
  • Mid rail must at least 21″ high.
  • Mid rail must withstand 150 pounds.

There are other specifics that you can read at the link below, but those are the major points when it comes to guardrails and OSHA. Notice that there is no mention of vertical posts being required at any specific distance. I called OSHA to see if this were perhaps an oversight or simply something I was unable to find in their standards. I was told that as long as it fits the standards in the link below, specifically not deflecting lower than 39″ when 200 pounds is applied, then the vertical posts can be ten feet apart or even further.

However, if you’re in a state with a state run OSHA program like California, don’t order that ten foot guardrail just yet. OSHA requires that state agencies be at least as strict as OSHA, but they are allowed to be stricter or more specific. In the case of Cal/OSHA, the rules are as follows:

  • Top rails must be able to withstand a 200 pound load in any direction.
  • Top rail must be 42″–45″ high from floor to top of rail.
  • Posts must not exceed 8 foot centers.
  • Must have a mid-rail. The mid-rail must be at least 1″ x 6″.
  • The top rail and posts must be at least 2″ x 4″ if  made of wood, at least 1.5″ thick if metal pipe, and if made of structural steel, must be at least 2″ x 2″ angle iron.

As you can see, these standards are much more specific. Not only do you need vertical posts at least every eight feet, but those posts must be a specific thickness depending on the material. In other words, a worksite that might be entirely OSHA compliant in Idaho, might result in violations in California. This is, of course just one example of differences between OSHA and a state run OSHA.

Related Links:

OSHA Guardrail Standards

Cal/OSHA Guardrail Standards, go to the link below and then search for Title 8, Section 3209

List of State Run OSHA Agencies

Jack Cameron has been working at Guardian Fall Protection for over four years. He’s a certified Competent Person and a published author. He is the lead Technical and Content Writer at GFP. You can contact him at