Inspection of fall protection equipment

Falling protection

Fall protection equipment must be visually inspected before each use. Regular inspection
by a competent person for wear on the equipment should be performed at least every 6
months. Severe service or wear will require more frequent inspections.
Inspection procedures should be written and each inspection should be documented. It is
also important to follow any specific instructions that are provided with the equipment at the
time of purchase. Instructions should be stored in a location where they are readily available to the users.
Inspect all equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  1. If required by the manufacturer, return the equipment to the manufacturer for inspection, repair, or re-certification.
  2. Remove equipment from service if a stress indicator or warning system has been activated.
  3. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for disposition of the equipment.
  4. If a fall has been arrested, remove all components of the system from service and follow the
    manufacturer’s instructions for disposal.


Webbing – Grasp the webbing with your hands 6 in. (152mm) to 8 in. (203mm) apart. Bend the
webbing in an inverted “U” as shown. The surface tension resulting makes damaged fibers or cuts
easier to detect. Follow this procedure the entire length of the webbing, inspecting both sides of
each strap. Look for frayed edges, broken fibers, pulled stitches, cuts, burns and chemical damage.
D-Rings/Back Pads – Check D-rings for distortion, cracks, breaks, and rough or sharp edges. It should pivot freely. D-ring back pads should also be inspected for damage.
Attachment of Buckles – Inspect for any unusual wear, frayed or cut fibers, or broken
stitching of the buckle or D-ring attachments.
Tongue/Grommets – The tongue receives heavy wear from repeated buckling and unbuckling. Inspect for loose, distorted or broken grommets. Webbing should not have additional punched holes.
Tongue Buckles – Buckle tongues should be free of distortion in shape and motion.
They should overlap the buckle frame and move freely back and forth in their socket.
Roller should turn freely on frame. Check for distortion or sharp edges.


When inspecting lanyards, begin at one end and work to the opposite end, slowly rotating the lanyard so that the entire circumference is checked. Additionally, follow the procedures below.
Snaps – Inspect closely for hook and eye distortions, cracks, corrosion, or pitted surfaces. The keeper (latch) should seat into the nose without binding and should not be distorted or obstructed. The keeper spring should exert sufficient force to firmly close the keeper. Keeper locks must prevent the keeper
from opening when the keeper closes.
Thimbles – The thimble must be firmly seated in the eye of the splice, and the splice should have no loose or cut strands. The edges of the thimble must be free of sharp edges, distortion, or cracks.

Wire Rope Lanyard – While rotating the wire rope lanyard, watch for cuts, frayed areas, or unusual wearing patterns on the wire. Broken strands will separate from the body of the lanyard.
Web Lanyard – While bending webbing over a pipe or mandrel, observe each side of the webbed lanyard. This will reveal any cuts or breaks. Swelling, discoloration, cracks and charring are obvious signs of chemical or heat damage. Observe closely for any breaks in stitching.
Energy-Absorbing lanyard – Examine as a web lanyard (described above). However, also look for the warning flag or signs of deployment. If the flag has been activated, remove this energy–absorbing lanyard from service.
Rope Lanyard – Rotate the rope lanyard while inspecting from end-to-end for any fuzzy, worn, broken or cut fibers. Weakened areas from extreme loads will appear as a noticeable change in original diameter. The rope diameter should be uniform throughout, following a short break-in period.
Energy- Absorber Pack – The outer portion of the pack should be examined for burn holes and tears. Stitching on areas where the pack is sewn to D-rings, belts or lanyards should be examined for loose strands, rips and deterioration.


Check Housing – Before every use, inspect the unit’s housing for loose fasteners and
bent, cracked, distorted, worn, malfunctioning or damaged parts.
Retraction and Tension – Test the lifeline retraction and tension by pulling out several feet of the lifeline and allow it to retract back into the unit. Always maintain a light tension on the lifeline as it retracts. The lifeline should pull out freely and retract all the way back into the unit. Do not use the unit if the lifeline does not retract.

Lifeline – The lifeline must be checked regularly for signs of damage. Inspect for cuts, burns, corrosion, kinks, frays or worn areas. Inspect any sewing (web lifelines) for loose, broken or damaged stitching.
Braking Mechanism – The braking mechanism must be tested by grasping the lifeline above the impact indicator and applying a sharp steady pull downward which will engage the brakes. 


Basic care of your fall protection equipment will prolong the durable life of the unit and will contribute toward the performance of its vital safety function. Proper storage and maintenance after use are as important as cleansing the equipment of dirt, corrosives or contaminants.
Nylon or Polyester – Remove all surface dirt with a sponge dampened in plain water. Squeeze the sponge dry. Dip the sponge in a mild solution of water and commercial soap or detergent. Work up a thick lather with a vigorous back and forth motion; then wipe with a clean cloth. Hang freely to dry, but away from excessive heat.
Housing – Periodically clean the unit using a damp cloth and mild detergent. Towel dry.
Drying – Equipment should dry thoroughly without close exposure to heat, steam or long periods of sunlight.


Anchorage: A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards, or deceleration devices.
Anchorage Connector: A component or system used to join the connecting device
(lanyard, lifeline or deceleration device) to the anchorage.
Arresting Force: The force transmitted to the body when a fall is arrested. Also known as
Fall Arrest Force.
Body Belt: A strap that is secured around the waist and is used for positioning or restraint
only. Body belts are not used for fall arrest. Also known as safety belt.
Body Harness: A design of straps which is secured about a person in a manner to distribute fall arresting forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders, with provisions for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system. Also known as a full body harness.
Body Support: Personal protective equipment worn by a worker, such as a body belt or body harness.
Buckle: An integral connector used to attach straps or webbing segments together or to themselves.

Carabiner: A connector component generally composed of a trapezoidal or oval shaped
body with a normally closed gate or similar arrangement which may be opened to permit
the body to receive an object and, when released, automatically closes to retain the object.
Carabiners used in personal fall protection should be self-closing and self-locking and only
be capable of opening with two consecutive actions by the user.
Confined Space: An enclosed area that is large enough and so configured than an employee can bodily enter and has the following characteristics: Its primary function is something other than human occupancy, has restricted entry and exit, and may contain potential or known hazards
Connector: A mechanism or device used to join together components of a personal fall arrest system (for example a carabiner) or parts of a component within the system (such as a D-ring on a body  harness).
Continuous Fall Protection: A fall protection system that is designed so that there is no
unprotected exposure to an elevated fall hazard.
Deceleration Device: A device that absorbs or dissipates energy during a fall arrest.
Deceleration Distance: The additional vertical distance a falling person travels, excluding
lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate. It is measured as the distance between the location of a person’s body harness attachment point at the moment of activation (onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the person comes to a full stop.


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