Blog / Tethered Tools

Top 5 takeaways from ANSI/ISEA 121-2018

Reuben Aris

November 6, 2018

The ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 Standard for tool tethering equipment is something you need to know about.

If you’ve got detailed questions about the new standard and what it means, take a look at our in-depth Q&A.

But if you just want the headlines, we think these are the five most important things you need to know:

1. It’s voluntary (but…)

ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is a voluntary standard. It’s not a legal regulation you have to comply with. BUT that doesn’t mean you can ignore it. This standard sets out best practice for tool tethering systems and it will help keep you and your staff safe.

Regulators will likely refer to it when deciding whether you’ve followed best practice guidance. That means you could face heavy penalties for any dropped object injuries or fatalities at your workplace if you haven’t complied with this standard.

2. It’s about the products, not how you use them

This new standard covers the recommended design, performance, testing and labelling of tool tethering products and containers. It does not go into how you should use them. For advice on how to implement tool tethering systems, you need to go to the manufacturers.

We have lots of advice and tips about how to install and make best use of our tool tethering systems.

3. There’s no timescale for implementation

You don’t have to rush out to replace all your tool tethering systems. You can upgrade to ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 compliant products as and when you need to replace items. That said, if you’re not using proper tool tethering systems at the moment, you should invest in robust products.

When you’re buying new tool tethering equipment, just make sure it’s been tested to ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 standards.

4. It doesn’t cover PPE and other protective measures

This standard is all about prevention. There needs to be a greater focus on preventing dropped objects in the workplace. Protective measures still have their place, but ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 doesn’t deal with them. It’s only concerned with preventative tool tethering equipment and containers.

5. It has global implications

ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 might be an American standard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have an impact where you work.


Firstly, because the ISEA is an international organisation; and secondly because all regulators look for examples of best practice when applying their regulations. This is currently the world’s only best practice guidance relating to tool tethering products, so you can expect regulators outside of the US to use it as a reference too.

It may also prompt organisations in your country to create a similar standard. As a manufacturer, all our tool tethering systems are tested to the highest standards and we’ll make sure our products continue to comply with the latest standards and best practice guidance in this field.
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