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Inspecting Your Retractables

Posted by Doug Kotecki on

As I'm sure you're aware. It is important to inspect all of your equipment before each use. Hey, it's your life. So one of the things commonly asked from us is how do you properly inspect your retractable. Well here's how…

1. Housing - Check the outer housing of your retractable. Be on the lookout for bent, damaged, or malfunctioning parts. Also, be on the lookout for loose fasteners. Make sure you don't have a screw loose, if you know what I mean.

2. Lifeline - The first thing you'll want to do is pull out several feet of the lifeline and let it slowly retract back into the housing. Keep some tension on the line as you let it roll back in, I don't want you to lose an eye. Do NOT use the lifeline if it does not retract.

Then inspect the lifeline for damage such as cuts, burns, corrosion, and worn areas. If you've got a web lifeline, make sure to check out the stitching. If the lifeline is badly damaged, don't use it.

3. Hardware - Next, you want to look at the metal hardware around the retractable, such as the snap hooks, and carabiners. There shouldn't be any distortions, cracks, or corrosion on the metal. Also, the snap hook should be able to latch without binding and firmly closed.

Then take a look at the load indicator. If you see red, do NOT use the retractable. If the shock absorber has been engaged, do NOT use the retractable.

4. Brakes - If your retractable has passed all of the other tests, you'll want to move on to the braking mechanism. First, grab the lifeline above the impact indicator and apply a sharp steady pull downward to apply the brakes. There shouldn't be any slippage when the brake is engaged. Once tension is released the lifeline should recoil back into the unit.

This may go without saying, but if the brake doesn't engage, do not use the retractable.

So, if your retractable checks out after this battery of tests. You should be able to use it for work that day. Always inspect your equipment.  And as always if you have questions, let us know.

  • Tags: Archives 2010, How To, Inspection, Retractable Lifelines

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