Energy absorbers

What is an energy absorber?

Energy absorbers, located between the harness and the fall arrest system are textile Personal Protective Equipment manufactured for the sole purpose of reducing the impact or sharp blow generated by the fall arrest..

Why use an energy absorber?

The maximum braking force, that is the sharp blow that occurs at the impact arrest, could be fatal if an energy absorber or other fall buffer is not used.

Therefore, the UNE EN 355 standard regulates energy absorbers, establishing that their main purpose is to lessen the impact to loads that can be withstood by the human body without injury.

How does it work?

The energy absorber braking mechanism comprises a textile webbing sewn in a zigzag pattern. This webbing is designed so that, once a certain force is applied, the stitching starts to break in a controlled manner so that it progressively absorbs the load gradually reaching it.
Therefore, the greater the impact, the greater the deployment of the webbing. Although there are limits:

  • According to EN 355, the webbing has a maximum elongation of 2.25 metres.
  • Moreover, the impact force to the worker cannot be greater than 6kN.

Once the webbing has been deployed, it will need to be trashed and replaced with a new one.

Energy absorber classes

Absorbers on the Lanyard

What do they do?

As well as the impact shock absorbing function of the energy absorbers, in the case of the lanyards the aim is to create a unit comprising the energy absorber, fall arrester and lanyard, which makes it possible to move along the entire length of the lanyard.

This gives an extremely lightweight piece of work equipment, particularly for inclined planes, in which there are long distances to the fall arrest systems.

Pros

The Absorber, apart from reducing the fall arrest forces, also offers the following advantages:

Fall prevention

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Correctly used, the fall arrester will prevent the fall from occurring

Positioning

The worker can position himself at any point along the length of the lanyard.

Lightweight

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The unit is more lighter than when using a retractable fall arrester.

Double Tail Lanyard

Features

This device is noted for its versatility.

In the same way as its useful for moving up and down ladders that are not equipped with a vertical fall arrester, they can also be useful for anchorage to a perimeter line or to a structure, if there is no other option.

The EN 355 standard states that lanyards cannot be longer than 2 metres.

Versatility

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This is the most versatile device for protection at height.

The disadvantage of a double tail

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This video explains and problem and solution for the opening of double tails.

The single tail energy absorber

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Features

As regulated by EN 355, single tail absorbers, just like double tail ones, shall not be longer than 2 metres.

They are not as versatile as double tail shock absorbing lanyards. At Elytra, we basically use them as follows:

PPE fall arresters on perimeter lines.

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This PPE is extremely useful when the lifeline distance to the edge is constant.

Fall arrester for lifting platforms

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This is perhaps the most common application for the single tail shock absorbing lanyard

Concepts associated with engineered fall protection systems