In the Fall Protection industry, few things are as important and highly prioritized as safety at height. Whether working on a telephone pole or a roof many stories above the ground, creating a safe environment for the worker is crucial.
In order to meet the unique needs of the industry, Leading Edge Self Retracting Lifelines (SRLs) were developed. Traditionally, these SRLs have been designed with heavy steel cables to protect a worker from a fall over a sharp edge. With the latest development in performance webbings, there is now a lightweight alternative to the steel cable SRL.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR WEBBING AND SRLS TO BE “LEADING EDGE”?
Per OSHA 1926.751, Leading Edge is defined as “the unprotected side and edge of a floor, roof, or formwork for a floor or other walking/working surface (such as a deck).” These unprotected edges leave workers suspended above them in a potentially precarious position.
The presence of this edge creates an additional hazard — if someone falls and their SRL hits this unprotected edge, the combination of velocity, weight, and the sharpness of the corner is likely to snap a standard SRL not rated for leading-edge applications.
WHAT DOES THE PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING LEADING EDGE WEBBING ENTAIL?
In the initial design phase at Sturges Manufacturing, testing goes beyond the requirements of the ASSP/ANSI Z359.14 in several key ways. Samples are abraded per FED STD 191A, Method 5309 and then dropped 6’5” using the ASSP/ANSI Z359.14 requirement with a 310 lb test mass and tested in a fixed position without an SRL. After the dynamic test is complete in both the off-set and perpendicular position and the weight has been held for 2 minutes, the weight is pushed again to swing more on the edge for 5 additional minutes in multiple directions to ensure it can withstand the increased exposure over time. Once the sample is removed from the leading-edge test tower, it is then tested statically to verify the strength exceeds 1,000 lbs.
Sturges is able to design prototypes and test them in-house in its state-of-the-art, ISO 17025 testing facility. The ability to test in-house also allows Sturges to provide a pre-tested product to clients during new product development saving time and increasing their speed to market.
While Sturges is focused on convenience for the customer, their own process remains detailed and custom — Sturges does not use another customer’s in-house results to market to other customers. Each prototype is unique and receives its own test data.
With safety being first, Sturges doesn’t only test during the design stage, but regularly during production as well. Dynamic testing is performed daily with each production run and monitored through SPC, to ensure a quality webbing that can be depended on.
CAN LEADING EDGE WEBBING BE BRANDED?
Leading Edge webbing can be customized to include custom colors and patterns. Sturges Manufacturing’s design and engineering teams work with customers to develop webbing that functions as intended and incorporates necessary branding.