Recently I attended the fall protection competent person class at Honeywell. One of the questions from a student was “Can I use both clips of a double legged lanyard on the same anchorage”. Some of these lanyards are also called “Y-lanyards” or “Twin-Leg Lanyards”.
Let’s review some fall protection basics
1. OSHA requires free falls of less than 6 feet and a maximum arresting force of 1800 lbs.
a. 1926.502(d)(16)(ii) limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;
b. 1926.502(d)(16)(iii) be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level;
2. ANSI 359 (Industry Standard) requires the maximum arresting force to an average of less than 900 lbs (a 2:1 safety margin).
3. Anchorage Points for Fall Protection should be capable of holding 5000 lbs or double the maximum intended load.
4. 1926.502(d)(15). Anchorages used for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached, or shall be designed, installed, and used as follows:
The instructor directed us to the Honeywell link https://sps-support.honeywell.com/s/article/Can-I-have-both-legs-of-a-twin-leg-lanyard-or-SRL-connected-at-the-same-time.
I have always been told not to use both clips on a y-legged lanyard at the same time because the fall protection forces would increase. According to the latest data from Honeywell the fall protection forces might exceed 2400 lbs. for a worker.
What could 2400 lbs. do to a worker? In short it is a potentially fatal fall, if not then severe spinal damage or displacement of your internal organs or “suspension trauma”. Many of these injuries may not show up until long after the accident.
So what are we to do?
1. Consider all fall injuries serious, even with a harness and lanyard, always get a medical evaluation from a qualified medical provider. Even if a person says, “I’m Ok.”
2. Learn to recognize Orthostatic stress/suspension trauma https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib032404.html and communicate the potential of it to EMT’s and medical professionals. They likely do not know about fall protection equipment.
3. Consider two-legged lanyards attached to the same anchorage point an IDLH situation. The only exception is when maintaining 100% fall protection when transferring from one anchorage to another.