In the fall arrest area, “connector” is used to describe a whole range of different types of retaining cables and straps which individuals working high up or at a falling edge use to hook up to an anchorage device. A connector is used to connect the person to be secured to the fall arrest system: One end of the connector is connected to the anchorage point or lifeline system installed on the building structure and the other is attached to the safety harness worn be the user. Connectors are designed to catch users when they fall. Apart from this, they are also used to define work areas. As a rule, robust textile material is used, e.g. kernmantle cables or straps. Self-retracting lifelines (SRL) usually use straps or stainless steel cables.

Types of connectors

Connectors used to catch a user are either equipped with an integrated or additional shock-absorber system. For example, retaining cables, such as guided type fall arresters with a flexible anchor line, are equipped with a (lanyard) energy absorber. Self-retracting lifelines are often equipped with integrated shock-absorbers. Depending on the type, field of application and integrated components, connectors are subject to binding regulations and have been tested and labelled according to one or several DIN standards. Common certifications include:

  • Guided type fall arresters with a flexible anchor line in accordance with EN 353
  • Connectors in accordance with EN 354
  • Energy absorbers in accordance with EN 355
  • Connector elements (e.g. carabiner hooks) in accordance with DIN 362

Connector models may differ considerably. A guided type fall arrester with a flexible anchor line combines a retaining cable with an energy absorber and a manually-adjustable rope shortener. This allows the length to be individually adjusted to keep the cable taut - enabling it to function as a retention system.

The length of a twin strap on the other hand (which includes Y connectors) is fixed. However, these are equipped with a total of three carabiner hooks. One hook is fixed to the user’s safety harness, the other two are attached to the anchorage system. The two hooks at the end of the retaining cable are unhooked and re-hooked one after another when moving from one anchorage point to the next or in the case of non-traversable lifeline system supports. This guarantees interruption-free protection.

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