Your Guide to Tool Tethering
Tool tethering is a vital component of industrial safety, especially when working at heights or in confined spaces. Tool tethering prevents tools from falling and causing injuries, damages, or delays. It also improves productivity and efficiency by keeping tools within reach and organized.
According to WSPS over 27,000 workplace incidents involving dropped objects are reported to Canada's workers compensation boards each year. This works out to approximately 145 incidents per day.
But how do you choose the right tool tethering solutions for your specific needs? There are many factors to consider, such as the weight, shape, and size of the tools, the type and length of the lanyards, the connection points on the tools and the anchor points on the workers, and the safety standards and regulations in your industry.
In this guide, we will walk you through the four steps to selecting the best tool tethering solutions for your industrial safety needs. We will also provide some examples of the products we offer at SupplyNow, your trusted industrial safety supplier in the Greater Toronto Area.
Step 1: Assess Tool Weight
The first step to choosing the right tool tethering solutions is to determine the weight of the tools you intend to tether. This is important because different lanyards, attachments, and connectors have different weight-bearing capacities, and you need to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure a safe and secure tethering setup.
To measure the weight of your tools, you can use a digital scale or a tool weight chart. You can also refer to the product specifications of the tools you purchased from us or other suppliers.
Step 2: Choose a Lanyard
The next step is to choose a lanyard that matches the weight of your tool and the length you need. A lanyard is a flexible cord or strap that connects the tool to the anchor point on the worker or the work surface. There are different types of lanyards, such as hard hat lanyards, single leg lanyards, and retractable tool tethers.
Hard Hat Lanyard (Rated up to 2 lbs)
A hard hat lanyard is a short and lightweight lanyard that attaches to the hard hat of the worker, and prevents the hardhat from falling to the ground while working at heights. At SupplyNow, we offer the PIP Hard Hat Lanyard, which features a quick-release buckle, a shock-absorbing cord, and a carabiner. It is easy to use and comfortable to wear.
Tool Lanyard Options:
A single leg tool lanyard is a lanyard that has one end attached to the tool and the other end attached to the anchor point. It is suitable for medium to heavy tools, such as hammers, wrenches, squeegees, or drills. It allows the tool to move freely and flexibly, but also limits the drop distance and the impact force in case of a fall.
At SupplyNow, we offer a range of single leg lanyards with different weight ratings and lengths. For example, the FallTech 5lb Tool Tether features a speed-clip, a choke-on cinch-loop, and an aluminum twist-lock carabiner. It is durable and versatile, and can be used with various tools and connection points.
Retractable Tool Tethers:
A retractable tool tether is a lanyard that has a spring-loaded mechanism that automatically retracts the cord or strap when not in use. It is ideal for light tools that are frequently used and put away, such as tape measures, scissors, or knives. It reduces the risk of entanglement and snagging, and also keeps the tool close and convenient.
At SupplyNow, we carry the FallTech Retractable Tool Tether, which has a single-action retraction mechanism with an extended length of 40 inches, a stainless steel carabiner, and a swivel hook. It is compact and ergonomic, and can be attached to belts, harnesses, or tool bags.
Step 3: Identify Tool Connection Point
The third step is to identify the best connection point on the tool to attach the lanyard. The connection point is the part of the tool that links to the lanyard’s attachment or connector. The connection point should be strong, stable, and secure, and should not interfere with the function or performance of the tool.
Use the Tool's Built-in Connection Points
Some tools have built-in connection points, such as captive holes, slots, or handles. In this case, you can use the lanyard’s carabiner or hook to directly connect to the tool.
Attachments or Connectors
Other tools do not have built-in connection points, or have connection points that are not suitable for tethering. In this case, you need to install a connector on the tool to create a secure link between the tool and the lanyard. A connector is a device that adds a connection point to the tool, such as a D-ring, a shackle, a tool collar, or a Self-Adhesive Binding Tool Tape
Some manufacturers have designed attachments specific for a tool such as the PIP Measuring Tape Pouch to securely hold and tether a measuring tape. Or for other tools, to wrap around and tether any tool with a smooth surface.
Shown above: FallTech 5lb Tool Tether with speed-clip, choke-on cinch-loop and aluminum twist-lock carabiner secured to a tool with a self adhesive binding tool tape. This tool did not have a captive hole, so adhesive tape was used to secure a connection point.
At SupplyNow, we offer a variety of connectors for different types of tools and applications.
Step 4: Establish a Proper Anchor Point
The final step is to establish a proper anchor point to attach the other end of the lanyard. The anchor point is the part of the worker or the work surface that links to the lanyard’s attachment or connector. The anchor point should be strong, stable, and secure, and should not pose a hazard or discomfort to the worker or others.
Some common anchor points are fall protection harnesses or tool belts. You can also use a product such as the MSA Tool Tether Wristband. Depending on the weight of the tool and the type of the lanyard, you can choose the most appropriate anchor point for your situation. You should also follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and the safety standards and regulations in your industry..
Tool tethering is an essential practice for industrial safety, and choosing the right tool tethering solutions is not a trivial task. You need to consider many factors, such as the weight, shape, and size of the tools, the type and length of the lanyards, the connection points on the tools and the anchor points on the workers, and the safety standards and regulations in your industry.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the four steps to selecting the best tool tethering solutions for your needs. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact us at SupplyNow, your trusted industrial safety supplier in the Greater Toronto Area. We have a wide range of tool tethering products from reputable brands, such as PIP, MSA and FallTech, and we can help you find the most suitable solutions for your specific applications.