What is the difference between a positioning lanyard and an energy or shock absorbing lanyard?

A positioning lanyard is one component of a positioning device system. A positioning device system is used for fall restraint rather than fall arrest and consists of three parts: a belt or body harness, a lanyard and an anchor point. The positioning lanyard is the device which connects the harness to an anchor point and permits falls of 2 ft. or less. All positioning equipment must meet OSHA and ANSI standards. 

An energy absorbing lanyard is used with a personal fall arrest system, which is different than a positioning device system. A fall arrest system’s goal is to lessen any forces on a worker’s body during a fall. ANSI standards allow for various ways of accomplishing this, such as the tearing of materials or breaking of stitches. These lanyards can be worn by the user or be part of a horizontal or vertical lifeline subsystem. 

If potential for a fall exists, an energy absorbing lanyard is preferred over a positioning lanyard. Also note that if a worker is using a positioning device with a personal fall arrest system, they should utilize a harness that is designed to have attachment points for BOTH systems. 

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