FAQs

FAQ Topics / Lanyards/Tiebacks


Is it true that OSHA does not allow a double-locking lanyard hook to be
“snapped back” to the lanyard webbing? If so, is there a way that a
“snap-back” D-ring can be added to an existing shock-absorbing lanyard? My company has about a hundred lanyards without the snap-back feature, but otherwise they are in good condition. I hate to throw them away just to purchase new ones with the snap-back feature.


Call the manufacturer and see what they say. If OK, ask for test results including detailed data and pictures. If not OK – follow their advice or pick up another manufacturer. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions exactly!

If you can’t reach the manufacturers, consider this. OSHA does not prohibit any effective attachment. So if your proposed tieback is around a smooth pipe of sufficient strength then great. If over a knife-edge then it does not matter whether you have a lanyard with a D-ring for tieback or not. Breakage of ropes at the lanyard snaphook attachment is featured in the Introduction to Fall Protection, 3rd Edition (go to Publications on this web site). Crinkly lanyards with spring-loaded take up do not seem to have been tested by many if any of the manufacturers using 2-3″ angle iron tieback. One-inch web lanyards seem sufficient around many structures but always use an anchorage connector for spread of loads.

All anchor points should be approved either specifically or as a template by a Qualified Person or an outside registered Structural PE and must be compatible.

EFSS can certify your applications if they are generally similar or engineer a system with horizontal lifeline if applicable.



I am a safety specialist at Constellation Power Source in Baltimore

Maryland. I have attended your training class and keep a copy of your book in

my library. Would you please give me your opinion on this question?

Should the Gibbs Ascender (see specifications for Model # 3s) be used to

connect a lanyard to a vertical lifeline (1/2inch static kermatle rope) for

fall protection? I do not believe this device should be part of a fall arrest

system, however I must convince others to change.

Information on the Gibbs ascender: A simple, durable ascender. Available in

two sizes.


Thanks for your email – exactly correct what you are asking as a graduate of the DSC class!

The question really is this:

Does the Gibbs Ascender meet OSHA 1926.500 App C requirements?
Ditto for ANSI Z359.1?

If yes, consider further. If no, do not use!

Further issues:

Mix and match ropes?
Previous models?
Worker owned devices?
Training to meet 1926.503 provided by manufacturer or distributor? Includes videos showing your application?
Is test data available?
Does the device lock if a user holds the rope above the device or holds the device itself during the fall?

If not do not use – this is the toughest test, which such devices usually fail.



I have been questioned by one of my clients regarding the compatibility of

snaphooks and D-rings. It seems that they are using a tieback type of lanyard

that uses a small D-ring. I am concerned that this D-ring (really a small “v”

shaped ring) that is integral to the lanyard in question is too small and

creates compatibility concerns although the snaphook is a double locking type.

My questions for you are the following:

  1. Is it possible to have a “roll-out” problem with a double-locking snaphook, and if so, when would such concerns be present?
  2. Is it impossible for a double locking snaphook to “roll-out” of a flexible connection point such as the situation that would exist with a tieback lanyard?


D-rings should be sized to be compatible with snaphooks even if the lock

on the snaphook does not work properly. That means that the distance from

rivet to bowl is less than the effective load-bearing diameter of the D-ring

or other connection. To reverse that relationship may require excessive

inspection and that may still not be effective under dynamic conditions.

Snaphooks can detach from webbing if they are openable while locked to a

distance of 1/8 inch or more at the nose of the hook and the webbing can

orient itself under stress into that opening. Demonstration may be difficult

in some cases to duplicate a potential lethal danger from roll-in of the

webbing that creates the disconnection possibility. Metal parts that are

incompatible can cause rollout.



What is the best anchorage connector to use to attach the lanyard to when an employee is wearing a full-body harness while he is working inside a work platform that is attached to the forks of a powered industrial truck?


Great question, for the manufacturer of the work platform AND the fork lift. We can answer this question with structural analysis of the physical assembly and design the overhead compatible anchorage(s). We need a drawing showing dimensions of the assembly and the maximum height of the lift and lift specs including weight and COG; how many people in the platform, conditions of use for the assembly e.g. movement with elevated workers, type terrain traveled, access out at heights; what is the elevated operator’s job and constraint on movement.

Do you want to do this right? Send a email picture of the assembly and give us a call.
Congratulations on using the full body harness!



I’m a little confused about the lanyard that’s used when you have to hook off at your feet. You mentioned that it’s a 12-foot lanyard. But checking around, I see the model, that I think is the one you had in training class, described as:
Shock absorbing lanyard is used when there is no overhead anchorage and your only option is to tie off at your feet – often faced by iron workers. It can be used for up to a 12 foot free fall (3.7m) and limits the arresting forces below OSHA’s limits.
The Shock Absorbing Lanyard is
• Used for tying off at your feet
• Soft shock absorber cover for comfort
• 6 ft (1.8 m) total length (other lengths available)
• Limits arresting forces to under 1800 lbs (8 kN)
If the lanyard is 6 feet long, and I hook it off at my feet, that would seem to give me only 1 foot of movement. Also, isn’t the tear-out portion of any lanyard limited to 3.5 feet? If that’s so, then the total fall distance would be 6+3.5+3=12.5 feet. Or am I missing something here?


The Force2 model is indeed, the 12’ free fall lanyard we discussed and passed around the room for demonstration.

The lanyard length for a 12’ free fall condition is still 6 feet…when you anchor at your feet and assume a distance of 5’ to the D-Ring the lanyard will have about 1’ slack in the lanyard (this is demographic specific). If you assume a 5’ D-Ring height along with a 6’ hypotenuse (harness length) you get 3’+/- of travel from the anchor point – excluding any D-Ring harness movement.

The tear out for this lanyard is more than the mandated 3 ½’. If you download the pdf data for this lanyard and peruse it, I believe the tear out is somewhere in the 5 ½’ range. Again, this goes back to OSHA’s allowance for additional total fall distance provided the maximum arrest force delivered at the full body harness D-Ring is at or below the 1,800 pound threshold force limit but only in situations where no other plan is feasible. Once again, off the top of my head I believe the MAF for this lanyard under 12’ free fall conditions is about 1,350 pounds.

In using one of these lanyards at foot level you’d need approximately 20’ clearance from the anchor point height (feet) – 6’ (lanyard length) + 5.4’ (deceleration) + 1’ (D-ring slide) + 5’ (height of worker) + 2’ (safety margin) = 19.1’

Feel free to continue with the questions…we need to constantly communicate the right info to the masses.



Does anyone know where I can find examples of fall fatalities that
occurred when an employee temporarily disconnected from a lifeline or other anchorage in order to move to another location. I am developing a
training module and being able to describe incidents like this would be helpful.


This is an example of a transition hazard. I have not seen a
separate category of fall fatalities by transition. You can look in the NIOSH Publication 2000-16 for a compilation of FACE reports which are excellent fatal fall accident investigations. More recent falls will be listed in the totality of work death investigations.

Y-lanyards may encourage improper anchorage points that are not engineered. The new Z359.1 standards suite Z359.0-4 will be publicly available by mid-year it seems per Tim Fisher ASSE.

It is my opinion that 60% plus of workers fall to their deaths wearing their harnesses but most were never attached in the first place. The Waterproofers and Roofers Union Trust Fund put this number at 79% based on recent research with BLS.



Looking at regulations on the Internet for requirements
and information on tie-off techniques. There’s lots of don’ts, but I was unable to find any clear information on how to properly tie off. I am aware that looping a cross-arm strap around and H or I beam provides good anchorage, but I’d like to know about other common ways to properly
tie off.


Tying-off is a slang term which refers to a makeshift anchor
for a lifeline or lanyard system whose sole criteria is the decision of an exposed worker.

The term Anchor means an engineered anchor and relates to an engineering drawing that confirms the anchorage connector (e.g. axial eyebolt or cinched strap) strength of 5,000 lbs or other strength as determined by a Qualified Person (Z359.1).

The ANSI Z359.2 standard describes requirements for anchor points. A future Z359 standard will refer to Horizontal Lifelines (HLL) and Rails. Presently there is a CSA standard and EN standard for the HLL.

Fall Protection is not PPE beyond the harness. It is an engineered system based on engineering principles to absorb the forces of deceleration.

Asking a worker to find an anchor which is 5,000 lbs is not fair to the equipment user. A large beam may appear to be 5000 lbs but no-one can tell without an engineer’s calulation or template sketch communication for similar anchors.

An anchor point should always be over head height. To go less means a free fall using a 6 ft lanyard.

The subject of pre-planning involves predicting where anchors should be located. Rescue planning requires the same for likely rescues and rescue practice sessions after designating and constructing Rescue Anchors.



How do we deal with sharp edges?


Use stainless steel or coated wire Y-lanyards using the energy absorber at your back D-ring.
Alternatively, use the fast fall arrestor which is a leading edge energy absorber at the end of a SRL again near the hook attached to the back D-ring.