DES PLAINES, Ill. — The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently approved two American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) standards addressing fall protection — ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012, “Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems,” and the revised ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2012, “Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems, and Components.” The standards are part of the Z359 Fall Protection Code.

The new Z359.14 standard establishes requirements for the performance, design, qualification testing, markings and instructions, inspections, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of self-retracting devices, including self-retracting lanyards, self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capabilities, and self-retracting lanyards with leading-edge capabilities. It also establishes requirements for self-retracting devices intended for use in personal fall arrest or rescue systems for authorized persons within the capacity range of 130-310 pounds.

“The new Z359.14 standard on self-retracting devices addresses several types of these retractable lanyards and additionally classifies them according to performance. Type A devices, for example, are capable of arresting a fall in less than 2 feet, which is very important in situations where fall clearance is limited,” said Tom Wolner, Z359.4 and Z359.14 subcommittee chair. “And for the first time, this standard addresses self-retracting devices that may be exposed to a sharp edge in a fall situation. Special testing is included to evaluate and qualify these. Other important additions include expanded requirements for user information and guidelines on inspection expectations depending on the severity of use.” For more information, visit

Publication date: 04/02/2012