OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 9 Fall Protection

Section 153 Flexible and rigid horizontal lifeline systems

A horizontal lifeline (HLL) consists of a synthetic or wire rope rigged between two substantial anchors. These lifeline systems allow a worker to move horizontally while safely secured to a fall arrest system. Synthetic rope HLLs should be considered temporary because they are usually subject to deterioration resulting from use, exposure to the elements, and exposure to other potentially damaging hazards. Wire rope HLLs may be either temporary or permanent. Rigid rail horizontal fall protection systems are almost always permanent (see Figures 9.17 and 9.18).

Figure 9.17 Example of wire rope used as horizontal lifeline

Figure 9.18 Example of rigid rail

Because of their complex performance characteristics, flexible horizontal lifeline systems must meet the requirements of CSA Standard Z259.13-04, Flexible Horizontal Lifeline Systems, or the applicable requirements of CSA Standard Z259.16-04, Design of Active Fall-Protection Systems.

CSA Standard Z259.13-04, Flexible Horizontal Lifeline Systems, specifies requirements related to the performance, design, testing, labeling, and provision of pre-engineered flexible horizontal lifeline systems for the attachment of personal fall protection systems. The Standard states design limitations that are necessary for safe and durable service. It also specifies strength requirements for lifeline system anchorages but not strength-testing requirements for these anchorages.

CSA Standard Z259.16-04, Design of Active Fall-Protection Systems, is intended for professional engineers with expertise in designing fall protection systems. The standard specifies requirements for the design and performance of complete active fall protection systems, including travel restraint and vertical and horizontal fall arrest systems.

The performance characteristics of rigid horizontal fall protection systems are less complex than those of flexible horizontal lifeline systems. Such systems must be designed, installed and used in accordance with

(a) the manufacturer’s specifications, or
(b) specifications certified by a professional engineer.

Manufacturers and designers may wish to refer to Standard Z259.16-04, Design of Active Fall-Protection Systems for helpful advice.