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Difference between retractable fall arrester or lifeline

When work is carried out at height, it is normal for it to be associated with a high risk that can lead to an accident or serious injury to the operator. This is the reason why fall arrest systems exist, although it will be necessary to know which ones should be applied in each case, and what is the correct way to do it.

A retractable fall arrester and a lifeline could save our lives. Because of this, it is common to confuse the two terms, thinking that they are the same thing.

We will clarify the differences in the following lines.

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¿What is the difference between a retractable fall arrester and a lifeline?

The retractable fall arrester can be defined as an element that has the objective of blocking the employee’s fall in the event of an impact shock. This element covers an important extension of the working area, and is able to limit the fall distance.

Depending on the nature of the fall, it will return to its original form in one way or another (e.g. it could be with a sudden jerk).

The retractable fall arrester consists of a block, a steel cable and a carabiner (this should comply with the guidelines of UNE EN 795 / A / B / B / C / D).

The lifeline also protects the operator in the event of an accident at a great height. They are attached to the front eye of the employee’s harness, with the lifeline. However, unlike the above devices, the lifeline is not intended to arrest the fall, but rather to prevent the fall from occurring.

Fall arrest information or safety lines

It is most common for lanyards to be supplemented with other elements, such as a slider or blocker. This would prevent the rope from becoming so taut that it could be damaged in the event of a fall or movement.

As a point of interest, the UNE EN 354 standard provides more information on the lifeline.

Rodriguez Ros can answer any questions you may have about the difference between a retractable fall arrest device and a lifeline.