What is a Tool Lanyard, and Why is it Important for Worker Safety?

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Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a quintessentially important provision for workers across industries. Examples of PPE with which many would already be familiar include surgical masks, dust masks and work gloves – but there are other, more specific forms of PPE which serve a vital function in the workplace. The tool lanyard is one such item; here is why it is an important part of any PPE provision on a worksite.

What is a Tool Lanyard?

A tool lanyard is a form of personal protective equipment, designed to safely anchor tools to the body. Tool lanyards can come in different forms, but typically comprise a locking carabiner attached to a flexible or elastic length of material. The other end of this material features a wrist strap, for tight and secure locking of the lanyard to the wrist. Tools are hooked onto the carabiner part of the lanyard, where they can be easily accessed by the user.

Other kinds of tool lanyard feature carabiners on each end of a length of strengthened material, in order to enable the clipping of the lanyard to a tool belt or work surface. Some lanyards include additional safety and utility features like a hinge to enable the rotation of attached tools.

Use Cases for a Tool Lanyard

Tool lanyards effectively strap tools to an anchor point – whether a worker’s wrist or tool belt, or a safe anchor point at the site of work in question. One of the leading benefits bestowed on the worker by a tool lanyard is its ability to expedite repetitive tasks, like drilling or riveting.

However, the tool lanyard has a much more important use case: working at height. The lanyard enables workers to take tools with them to work at height, while keeping both hands free to safely work. The lanyard also ensures that tools cannot fall to the ground from height, whether from being knocked off a surface or slipping from a worker’s hand while carrying out a task.

Why Tool Lanyards Are Important

The tool lanyard might seem a peculiar item of PPE on which to fixate, but its importance to the safety of working at height illustrates a wider point regarding the employer’s responsibilities to its workers – both legally and ethically. As outlined by the Health and Safety Executive, it is a legal requirement for employers to provide adequate and appropriate PPE to workers free of charge, as well as training in its use.

In order to properly understand the PPE needs of its workers, the employer must carry out risk assessments – another legal requirement. PPE is considered a ‘last resort’, where other preventative measures may fail; the tool lanyard is a perfect example of a purpose-built item of PPE that serves a crucial safety measure for unavoidable risks, namely the dropping of tools when working at height.

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