Tool Lanyards: A Spotlight on Safety

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tool lanyards

Contributor:  Mike Kelly, Project Manager with F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems
Writer:  Sarah Block, Director of Marketing & Education with The Moran Group 

A wrench falls from scaffolding. You hear something and look up. Less than a second later and a wrench with hundreds of pounds of force knocks you in the forehead. What could have prevented this? Tool lanyards, and that is what we're talking about today. Tool lanyards are the latest must-have at construction sites. At four of our latest projects, tool lanyards are a non-negotiable and added into the safety requirements of the contract. They protect people from falling objects and are incredibly important. However, there are a lot of questions that surround them. We're going to explore those questions below.

Question 1: How do I choose the right lanyard for my tools?

Answer: There are a lot of components that go into choosing the right lanyard. One, you need it to be rated properly for the tool weight. There will be a chart on the brand's website to choose the right lanyard based on the weight of the tool. It is important to weigh your tools prior to choosing a lanyard, so you know it is accurate. Two, will you have one tool on the lanyard or multiple? For multiple tools, you will want a quick release tether. If you're using multiple tethers, make sure they are all retractable, so they don't tangle.

Question 2: How do I attach a lanyard to a tool that doesn't have a loop?

Answer: It depends on the brand of lanyard. It is best practice to choose a connector of the same brand as your lanyard. There are many options for lanyards, but we prefer Ergodyne which uses Squids connectors. They are cold shrink traps that essentially trap the lanyard onto the tool. Also available, are tape connectors. You use the connectors in conjunction with a web or elastic tail, which is the element that has the loop for which the lanyard will attach. When ordering a connector, you do need to use a chart to verify that you are getting the correct connector for the tool weight and size of the tool.

Question 3: Where is the best place to attach a lanyard?

Answer: The best place to attach a lanyard is to a structure with an anchor point that can handle the shock load of a falling tool. A belt loop is not going to do it. However, you do need to get that tethered tool from place to place, so it does need to be transported on a person. When transporting the tool, you can use 1) a heavy duty tool belt with a metal loop; or 2) a wrist connector. Once you reach your destination, transfer the tool lanyard to a structure.

Tool lanyards are the new hard hats. If you aren't using them yet, you will be soon. Remember the key takeaways: 1) Choose a lanyard and connector that is appropriate for the tool and its weight and size and 2) Keep your tool tethered correctly. What is the point in connecting it to a jeans' belt loop that will break as soon as the tool falls? Be smart and connect to a structure as soon as you can.

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