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The importance of regular SRL servicing

Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs), commonly referred to in the industry as Blocks, are life-saving devices that perform a critical role in many fall protection systems for any worker who performs work at height. SRLs are available in a range of sizes, styles and configurations for use in various industries and applications. However, they all do the same job. They save lives in the event of a fall.

Like all mechanical devices, SRLs require periodic maintenance to ensure safe and proper operating order, worker safety and compliance, and to extend product life. When your life is on the line, it’s clear that regular SRL servicing is a vital, non-negotiable safety requirement to ensure your SRL remains in impeccable condition throughout its life and can perform its life-saving task when called upon. Even minor external or internal wear and tear may cause the unit to fail, and the results could be life-threatening.

How an SRL works

A self-retracting lifeline is a fall arrest device connected to an anchor point and incorporates a lifeline attached to the user’s harness. The lifeline automatically extends and retracts as you move away from and towards the device. The lifeline on the SRL remains under slight tension while you work, reducing drag, snags, trips & falls while providing the fall protection and mobility required to work comfortably and safely within the work zone.

In a fall situation, a speed-sensing energy-absorbing brake holding the wire rope or webbing lifeline self-activates, locking the drum and preventing the lifeline from paying out. This action works to:

  • Stop the fall.
  • Reduce the fall arrest forces on the body to 6kN.
  • Keep fall distances to safe levels.

Why should I have my SRL serviced?

An SRL may look fine on the outside, and without a detailed service where the unit is opened and inspected by an authorised service agent, do you really know what is happening on the inside? Without regular servicing, internal damage remains undetected, becoming a silent hazard until the load from a fall culminates in the device failing to do its job.

Regular inspection, maintenance and service schedules minimise the possibility of self-retracting lifeline failures. Failures can severely impact a business through unexpected outages, increased SRL replacement costs, and against catastrophic safety incidents resulting in injury or loss of life.

SRLs are classified as Type 2 and 3 devices and are one of the most functional fall arrest devices in play when working at height. Due to their complex construction and significant performance criteria, most manufacturers require their SRLs to be serviced by an authorised service agent to ensure they are in 100% working order. AS/NZS 1891.4 stipulates the following inspection and service regime:

  • User inspection before and after use to ensure that the SRL is in proper working order.
  • Six monthly inspection (external check) by a Height Safety Equipment Inspector.
  • Fully serviced and re-certified by the manufacturer or their authorised service agent every 12 months, or within manufacturers
    recommended time frame – whichever is the lesser.

Self-retracting lifelines are used extensively in numerous industries, including oil and gas, construction, transportation, utilities, wind energy and general industry. These environments can be harsh and demanding, leading to accelerated deterioration. SRLs used in these surroundings may require more frequent inspections and servicing.

How do I know my SRL is due for a service?

How do I know when my fall arrest block is due for service? Your SRLs inspection and maintenance log maintained by the asset owner provides all the necessary information. If previously serviced, an inspection sticker placed on the SRL casing by the service agent serves as a visual reminder.

However, in saying that, if you are using an SRL that does not have any inspection history or if you notice any of the warning signs outlined below, your SRL should be removed from service, tagged out and sent to an authorised service centre for an inspection and service.

Warning Signs:

  • The impact indicator is damaged, deployed or missing.
  • The wire rope lifeline is damaged in any way – cuts, kinks, broken wires, abrasion, corrosion, affected by heat, bird caging.
  • The webbing lifeline is damaged in any way – cut, frayed, weld burns, abrasion, heavily soiled.
  • The housing is distorted, cracked, has loose screws or is excessively dirty.
  • There is any damage to the anchorage point, connecting hook, thimble, ferrule or stopper.
  • Labels containing the following information are missing or illegible – serial and model number, date of manufacture, date of last

The above warning signs are not an exhaustive list. For more detailed criteria, refer to our Free Bonus Self-Retracting Lifeline Inspection Checklist: Type 2 & 3 Fall Arrestors Equipment Inspection Checklist.

WARNING – If a Self-Retracting Lifeline has been subject to fall or impact forces, it must be immediately removed from
service and returned to an authorised service centre for re-certification

RIGCOM Authorised SRL Service Centre

We are a Certified Repair Facility with a dedicated workshop to provide manufacturer-level inspections. We are authorised to maintain, service, repair and re-certify Self-Retracting Lifelines and other Fall Protection products, including Winches and Confined Space Equipment for workers at height whose lives depend on them.

Our OEM manufacturer-trained technicians take safety seriously. We use only original parts and follow all relevant guidelines and standards to professionally service and repair your SRL to get it re-certified and back out in the field. You will receive a quotation listing the necessary repairs, a cost estimation and a time estimate for completion.

Not sure if your SRL is in proper working condition?

Are you wondering if it will be more cost effective to replace or repair?

Don’t know if your SRL is due to be serviced?

Contact us if you have any questions, to discuss your SRL servicing and inspection requirements, or for any advice you need to make an
informed decision.