According to EN 362 , a connector element is a single component which is used to connect up the other components in a fall protection system. To be able to fulfil this function, it must be possible to open the connector element. Karabiners and screw chain links are good examples of connector elements.
A differentiation is made between five different types of connector element:
These different classes of connector element are used in different areas of application and must meet different requirements, depending on the respective area of application.
Class B, T and A connector elements, for example, must be designed to be self-closing. This means that the closing mechanism must automatically close as soon as it is released. Class Q fasteners, on the other hand, are manually closed using a screw mechanism. These may only be used for long-term or permanent connections and must be secured against being opened manually, e.g. by applying a sufficient amount of torque. Class M connector elements may be designed to include both a self-closing and a screw mechanism.
If a connector element needs to be opened frequently, e.g. in order to move it along from one individual anchorage point to the next, DGUV Rule 112-198 recommends using a connector element with a self-locking mechanism. Self-locking means that the closing mechanism not only snaps shut automatically, but that it is also automatically secured against accidental opening.
To simplify handling, especially when wearing gloves, carabiners that fit into the palm of one’s hand are generally used. Other features of suitable fasteners include: One-handed operation; an opening which is wide enough for the respective application and sufficient play in the moving parts so that dirt can be easily removed and does not block the closing and locking mechanisms.
The special feature of multi-connector elements is that the full load can be applied on both the major and minor axes. Accordingly, all the other classes of connector element may only be fully loaded on the major axis - with a lower force on the minor axis (classes B and Q), respectively, not at all (classes T and A).