Use and Misuse of Tail-Lines

Use and Misuse of Tail-Lines

Remember!  A tail-line is actually a lifeline, and your life or someone else’s life may depend on the safety afforded by this line.

Such a line should be strong enough to withstand the strain caused by a weight of two hundred (200) pounds or more dropping a distance of nine and a half (9.5) feet.  The shock absorbing component must react within six feet and the system must bring the employee to a complete stop within an additional 3.5 feet.  Because of this stopping distance it is important to attach the tale-line to an anchor point overhead, and not at your feet or waist.  It does little good to attach the tail-line at the base of a platform that is located 6 feet from the deck.  The attachment of the safety line to the harness should be a double-locking safety hook.

A tail-line should be of an approved flexible cable or web strap with a shock absorber attached.  In some instances a self-retracting lifeline should be used.  Tail-lines should be regularly and carefully inspected and damaged lines must be replaced.  Never allow excess slack in a tail line.  A tail-line that has been shock loaded should be replaced. 

Correct use of the line is just as essential to safety as wearing a full body derrick harness. All safety rules require that the harness be worn constantly while working in the derrick.

Tail-lines and full body harnesses should be removed whenever the worker returns to the working deck where fall protection is not required.  There have been numerous incidents where workers did not remove the tail-line and it was caught in moving equipment.  Some of these incidents have been fatal.

There have been many instances of misuse of the tail line such as: a tow line for automobiles, a fastener for tying a boat during a wind, a tie-down line on equipment, a snatch line for lifting materials, and many other such misuses.  These lines aren’t made for, nor intended to be used for, such purposes but instead for the sole object of securing a man by his full body harness while working in high places.