C - Connectors

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Connectors attach the worker’s harness to the anchorage connector. Types will vary depending on whether the worker needs connection of a personal fall arrest or positioning and travel restriction.

A personal fall arrest connector is often a shock-absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline equipped with an energy-absorbing element to reduce the force transmitted to the user’s body in the event of a fall.

A positioning and travel restriction connector is usually a lanyard intended to reduce the potential for entering a fall hazard zone or for free falling from a distance of less than 2 feet.

Composite image of workers on worksites secured with connectors including lanyard, self-retracting lifeline and vertical lifeline system
What kind of connector do I need?
  • Lanyards

    Lanyards can come in the form of positioning lanyards, which control where a worker can go to keep them from hazards, or shock-absorbing lanyards that contain an energy absorbing unit to limit fall arrest forces experienced by a worker during a fall.

  • Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs)

    Self-retracting lifelines retain tension on the lifeline at all times, staying out of the worker’s way while providing safety. This helps shorten the fall distance and minimize trip hazards, and also offers greater mobility and maneuverability, which may help increase productivity. Lengths range from 6 to 175 feet.

  • Vertical Lifeline Systems

    Vertical lifeline systems allow for safety, mobility and productivity in vertical climbing environments. They include rope grabs as well as cable-based ladder safety systems and can be portable or permanent, mobile or manual, assisted or non-assisted.

Lanyards and Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs)

Choosing between shock-absorbing lanyards and SRLs and understanding features

When choosing a connecting device such as a lanyard or self-retracting lifeline, it's important to consider the conditions of your work environment. From harsh marine and mining, to oil and gas, to general industry, getting the best use out of a connecting device depends on selecting the right product for the application and the environment.

  • Worker reaching out of access port in wind turbine and fastening lanyard to anchor point
    Lanyard or lifeline material

    For general purpose applications that are indoors or in less-harsh environments, web material is appropriate. For extremely harsh environments, cable or Kevlar®/Nomex® fiber web offers extra durability and is generally more suitable for abrasive or high-heat situations.

  • Worker among beams connected by pair of self-retracting lanyards
    Single-leg or twin-leg configurations

    Single leg styles are suitable for a single anchor point connection to work within a specific range of movement. A twin-leg style offers a protective connection as the worker moves from one anchor point to the next for 100% tie-off.

  • Upward pointing arrows
    Fall clearance: More than 17 ½ feet

    An energy absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline can be used. A Compentent Person must be involved in determining adequate safe working clearances and are responsible for selecting the appropriate PPE.

  • Downward pointing arrows
    Fall clearance: Less than 17 ½ feet

    If less clearance is present, the use of a self-retracting lifeline is recommended. A Compentent Person must be involved in determining adequate safe working clearances and are responsible for selecting the appropriate PPE.

3M™ DBI-SALA® Smart Lock Self-Retracting Lifeline Video

Vertical Lifeline Systems

Choosing the right vertical system and components

Vertical environments require specialized systems selected for the specific application. Permanent systems need to stand-up to the elements for extended periods of time and require corrosion resistant galvanized or stainless steel construction, while temporary systems are often synthetic making them lightweight and easy to move from one location to another.

  • Worker climbing tower ladder connected to cable ladder safety system
    Flexible cable ladder safety system

    A permanent vertical fall protection system for often accessed structures such as ladders, towers or tanks that allows the worker to move up and down the entire height of the system. A sleeve connects the worker to the system and locks onto the cable in the event of a fall, allowing the user to regain their footing.

  • Worker climbing tower ladder connected to rigid rail ladder safety system
    Rigid rail ladder safety system

    Consists of top and bottom entry/exit gates, rail joints, and multiple mounting bracket options designed to mount the rigid aluminum rail to the structure. A shuttle connects the worker to the system and locks onto the rail in the event of a fall, allowing the user to regain their footing.

  • Worker climbing tower ladder using climb assist ladder system
    Climb assist ladder systems

    Extremely tall or lengthy structures can be more easily accessed with an assisted system which provides weight relief to reduce worker fatigue and improve climbing longevity. Various styles of systems are available for both inside (wind turbine) and outside (oil rig) applications for added versatility.

  • Worker at height with lanyard connected to cable rope grab
    Cable and synthetic rope grabs

    Portable systems allow user to move up and down the entire height of the lifeline without disconnecting and having to find new tie-off points along the way. All-purpose synthetic type systems are standard, or choose wire rope cable systems for harsh environments. Mobile systems that automatically follow the user as well as manual systems that the user must fix in place for positioning or restraint are available.

  • Coiled lifeline with carabiner end

    Blended rope lifeline assemblies feature additional abrasion and UV resistance, for added durability, longevity and safety. Wire rope (cable) lifelines are also available for harsh environments. Various styles and lengths are available to suit any need.

  • Worker operating winch ladder safety system
    Winch/SRL anchor type ladder safety system

    These ladder mounted masts and posts are ideal for manhole entry and retrieval applications where a permanent fixed ladder exists. The systems simply attach to the underground ladder and provide an anchorage point for a winch or 3-way self-retracting lifeline.

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How to choose other Fall Protection equipment

  • Find the most suitable type of anchor for your needs: steel anchors, concrete anchors and specialty safety anchors like our vacuum anchor or other systems designed for your basic to unique applications.

  • Discover our extensive range of fall arrest harnesses designed with the latest technology. They provide freedom of movement and flexibility to work in a more comfortable and efficient manner.


  • Our goal is not only helping keep workers safe at height, but getting them safely back to the ground with advanced, reliable rescue systems. We offer the most complete line of safe, easy-to-use and effective rescue systems in the industry.

  • Objects dropped from height can result in personal injury to workers, others at the worksite and equipment. When planning for workplace safety, remember, fall protection is about you; dropped object prevention is about those around you.

  • Our broad selection of both permanent and temporary, horizontal and vertical lifelines offer significant advantages in safety and productivity and have been precision engineered for a wide range of applications.

  • No two confined spaces are exactly alike. Type, size and hazards vary greatly, along with different standards, regulations and company policies that can apply to each working environment.

  • Whether conducting a hazard assessment or developing a comprehensive fall protection plan, there are key challenges of working at heights to consider: leading and sharp edges, fall clearance, and dropped objects.