Climbing Lanyards for Safety

Whether you’re climbing trees, towers or structures, a safety lanyard is a required and important safety backup to your personal climbing system.  Safety lanyards are also called buck straps, chicken straps, flip lines, safetys and many other interesting names.  Their basic function is to securely hold the climber in a working position, and serve as a backup in case the main climbing line is cut, breaks or in some other way fails.

Lanyard materials Commercially made safety lanyards are commonly made of synthetic rope or webbing.  Older styles used by electric linemen were often made of leather and can still be found, but are not as strong or reliable as those made with newer materials.  Rope lanyards are made from 3 strand, 16 strand or newer 24 strand double braid, giving excellent wear resistance and little stretch.  Each end of the lanyard typically has steel snaps for attaching to the climbing saddle or harness, though lighter weight aluminum snaps or carabiners are being used more.  Nylon or other synthetic materials used in webbing style lanyards are very tough and durable, but are typically heavier and harder to adjust than rope lanyards.  Steel core flip lines provide a measure of safety from chainsaw cuts, and the stiffness to spur climb tall trees, but are cumbersome when maneuvering around tree tops.

Lanyard Adjustment Non-adjustable lanyards, either rope or webbing, are inexpensive and can be hand made by the climber with experience.  These non-adjustable safety lanyards are typically used where the work area is well defined and work positioning distance is not important, such as working on a building, tower or pole.  However, having an easily adjustable rope, safety lanyard is critical in tree care, rock climbing or rescue operations.  Adjustments can be made using a prusik or friction hitch, or a mechanical rope grab.  Depending on the lanyard design and construction, adjustments of lanyard length can be made with either one or two hands.  Length of the lanyard depends on the needs of the climber, with longer lanyards often serving as a secondary climbing line.

Specialty Lanyards Many industry specific safety lanyards have been developed.  Tower climbers often use a double legged lanyard while climbing to remain tied in.  Snaps with large gate openings allow attachment to steel beams and trusses.  Elastic decelerators slows the climber and provides fall mitigation in event of a slip or fall.

For more information, contact Pinnacle Arborist Supplies, 501-663-8733.

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