Did you know that the canadian standard for fall arrest self-retracting devices has changed?

Did you know that the canadian standard for fall arrest self-retracting devices has changed?


Since February 2014, the “CSA 2259.2.2” standard was updated to modernize the classification as well as the inspection of the fall arrest self-retracting lifelines lanyards. Annie Chantelois, Prochute Director (SPI’s fall protection unit), specified that, among other things, “the goal of the new edition was to integrate technological advances for strength and performance management for this type of product while at the same time addressing various issues related to equipment use.” Here are the 5 key elements that have changed.

A new classification

You probably well know the 3-type classification (1, 2 and 3) established according to the length of the lifeline under the old edition. From now on, the length is a secondary variable. The lifeline performance is mainly related to the position in which the device is used.

So, this new certification takes into account the height of the D-ring on the worker's security harness in relation to the anchor point of the lifeline. It is important to know if the unit is at risk of being cut or damaged by an abrasive or sharp surface, also called “leading edge”. Also, verify if there is a retrieval mechanism or not to rescue the worker.

The four classes of this new system:

  • SRL: when the self-retracting lifeline is higher than the D-ring on the worker.
  • SRL-R: when the self-retracting lifeline is higher than the D-ring on the worker and also has a rescue device.
  • SRL-LE: when the self-retracting lifeline is lower than the D-ring on the worker or the self-retracting lifeline can lean against a sharp edge (LE if for Leading Edge).
  • SRL-LE-R: the self-retracting lifeline meets the SRL-LE standards and also has a rescue device.

Inspection requirements adapted to the utilization of the device

This is an element that will have the greatest impact on users. Previously, the inspection or revalidation of this equipment had to be performed after a certain number of years, according to the lifeline classification, without any flexibility. “Now, we adapt the inspection based on the lifeline's use and exposure. We provide enough latitude”, adds Annie Chantelois. Attention! In certain cases, the inspection must be done more frequently.

Here are examples:

  • Low frequency or light use: inspection performed annually with an equipment revalidation every five years.
  • Moderate or intensive use: semi-annual inspection and equipment revalidation every two years.
  • Important and continuous use: inspection every three or six months and annual revalidation.

Storage conditions and location are also to be considered.

Arrest force versus average deployment force

In the previous CSA standard, the lifeline was verified when blocked after a fall. Before, the unit was qualified by its maximum arrest force, which is its capacity to absorb a shock. CSA judges that we must also look at the average deployment force, which is the deceleration produced by the lifeline. It is a more representative element of the self-retracting lifeline performance for fall arrest.

Greater load during testing

Instead of performing tests with a 100 kg (220 lb.) load, we now use a minimum load of 140 kg (310 lb.) The load can also be more important if the unit can be used by people exceeding 140 kg. We can now certify units depending on the worker’s weight, including his equipment!

The importance of using a swivel

Before, it was strongly suggested to use a swivel at the end of the lifeline to allow a pivoting action and avoid twisting. Henceforth, it is no longer an option! The swivel has proven its worth and must be used.

It should be noted that these new elements apply to new equipment. The equipment you are already using is deemed safe enough so you do not have to change your inspection practices in the short-term. However, you will need to adapt over the years!

If you need advice to inspect your equipment or design new systems, SPI’s fall protection unit is there for you!