You’ve decided to introduce tool lanyards for all working at height activities. Your next task is to make sure that the tool lanyards you use are fit for purpose and suitable for the environment you’re working in.
Not all tool lanyards are created equal. So, where do you start?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to the tool lanyard specifications you should be thinking about:
The most important are:
- Serial numbering
- CE marking in Europe, or ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 for the US
- Third-party testing
- High visibility materials.
We’ll run through each in turn to explain why it’s so important when you’re choosing tool lanyards.
Not all lanyards and other tool tethering equipment will be serial numbered. You might be wondering if a serial number really matters.
Serial numbers on your tool lanyards offer traceability. We’re not just talking about traceability in the event that there’s a product fault and lanyards need to be recalled. We’re talking about internal traceability too.
Think for a moment about your workplace. You’ll have multiple people working on projects and at height at any given time. They all need the appropriate tools and equipment; and as the safety officer, you need to know that these are in good condition.
Serial numbered tool lanyards allow you to assign tool tethering equipment to particular employees. They can then be responsible for its condition and accountable for its maintenance.
If your tool tethering systems are signed in and out each day, it’s also an easy way to keep track of your equipment and ensure nothing goes missing.
But serial numbering is helpful for more than that:
It’s essential for a robust inspection regime. You’d expect safety harnesses to have serial numbers. It’s no different with tool tethering.
A serial number on your lanyards allows you to accurately record what’s been checked when, whether anything has been repaired, and whether any tool lanyards need to be replaced completely.
CE marking on your tool lanyards shows that they comply with the relevant EU safety, health and environmental requirements.
When you buy CE marked tool lanyards, you know they’ll be reliable and robust. This will give you the confidence that they’ve undergone rigorous testing (more about that in a minute) and you can be certain that they work within their specifications.
The CE marking on a piece of tool tethering equipment may not seem important until someone is injured or killed by a dropped object. Failing to invest in safe tool lanyards that meet Personal Protective Equipment regulations will go against you during an investigation.
Inspectors will question whether you took “suitable and sufficient steps” to protect employees and members of the public if you chose to take shortcuts with non-compliant tool lanyards.
In the United States, the American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions (ANSI/ISEA 121-2018) sets out minimum design, performance and labelling requirements for tool tethering solutions. Whilst it is not compulsory, it covers the specific testing procedures for tool tethers to ensure consistency across tool lanyard manufacturers.
It’s easy to see why you’d want tool lanyards that have been tested by an independent third party on your site. You can trust the load rating they’re given and be confident in the testing process.
- Every element of the NLG tool tethering system is tested and certified by an accredited UKAS test laboratory.
- All our tool lanyards are tested with a 2:1 safety factor. That means we’ve tested our lanyards, anchor points and tethers with double the weight of the load rating.
- Our products also undergo dynamic drop testing to ensure they can cope in the real world.
In case you’re wondering, a dynamic drop test involves lifting the tool to the full extent of the tool lanyard above the anchor point. This is where it’s dropped from. That tests the tool tether to its full extension and makes sure that it can deal with the force of a dropped object coming to a sudden stop.
There are several reasons why you want tool lanyards made from high-visibility materials.
The main reason for this is to make your job easier.
Let us explain:
You can tell, at a glance, whether operatives working several floors above you are using a tool tethering system. That can allow you to spot workers who aren’t using their tool tethering systems and speak to them immediately.
Our tool lanyards are made from durable high-visibility webbing with contrast stitching. This, too, is designed to make your life easier. It allows you, or the person inspecting it, to easily identify wear or deterioration on the tool lanyard and replace it promptly.
You also want to ensure that your tool lanyards are clearly marked ‘For Tool Use Only’ so that there can be no confusion with fall protection equipment.
We’re campaigning for organisations to take falling objects seriously and to use tool lanyards that actually keep people safe at work. That’s why we’ve made our equipment as easy to use and maintain as possible while keeping the highest of safety standards.