ANSI updates for self-retracting devices

During the Scaffold & Access Industry Association’s Committee Week in May, the Fall Protection Council covered major changes coming in 2023 for self-retracting devices.

Becky Danielson, Chair of the SAIA’s Fall Protection Council, discussed updates to ANSI Z359.14-2021 and ANSI Z359.11-2021, as well as the new ANSI Z359.9-2021 standard.

ANSI Z359.14-2021 updates

Self-retracting device type definitions have changed to the following:

1.3.1 Self-retracting lanyard (SRL) Defined in Section 2

A self-retracting lanyard (SRL) device in the form of a mechanical fall arrester, featuring a locking mechanism and energy management system to arrest the fall of and limit the forces imparted to the user.

1.3.2 Self-retracting lanyard, personal (SRL-P) Defined in Section 2

A self-retracting lanyard, personal (SRL-P) device designed such that it is compact enough and approved by the manufacturer to be worn by the user on a full-body harness to be used as a fall arrester connector, or alternatively mounted to an anchorage. These devices may, in some cases, be available in a dual configuration for the purpose of 100 percent tie-off.

1.3.3 Self-retracting lanyard with integral rescue capability (SRL-R) Defined in Section 2

A-self-retracting lanyard with integral rescue capability (SRL-R) includes an integral means for assisting rescue via raising or lowering the rescue subject. Some SRL-Rs may alternatively feature a mechanism which facilitates the controlled descent of the fallen user.

Figure 1. (Photo: ANSI)

Self-retracting device classes (see figure 1) have changed to the following:

1.4.1 Class 1

Self-retracting devices which shall be used only on overhead anchorages and shall be subjected to a maximum free fall of 2 feet (610mm) or less, in practical application.

1.4.2 Class 2

Self-retracting devices which are intended for applications wherein overhead anchorages may not be available or feasible and which may, in practical application, be subjected a a free fall of no more than 6 feet (1.8m) over an edge prescribed in section 4.


Any of the device types in 1.3 may be qualified according to the requirements of these classes. Before a device may be qualified according to the requirements of Class 2, it shall first meet the requirements of Class 1.

Self-retracting device markings and instructions have changed to the following:

5.1.4 class designation icon

(Photos: ANSI)

In addition to the requirements of 5.1.3, the manufacturer shall include, in a conspicuous location on the device, the appropriate color-coded icon designating the class for the device. For SRLs and SRL-Rs, the icon shall be a minimum of 1-inch square (25mm.) For SRL-Ps, it shall be a minimum of 0.5-inch square (12.5mm.)

5.1.6 Class 2 self-retracting devices

In addition to the requirements in 5.1.3, Class 2 self-retracting devices shall be marked to identify:

  • Minimum installation setback distance
  • Clearance required when falling over edge
  • A warning that exposure to a sharp or serrated structural edge could damage the device and that anchorage should be elevated to the extent possible to limit the risk of damage or failure
  • A warning to adhere to the hierarchy of controls as discussed in ANSI/ASSP Z359.2

5.1.7 Class 2 SRLs

In addition to the requirements of 5.1.6, Class 2 SRLs shall include labels illustrating a fall clearance table and a diagram of the axes shown on the table. These labels shall be affixed to the product, preferably at or near the point of attachment to the full body harness.

5.2.9 Warnings for Class 2 SRDs

A printed card, minimum sized of 3 inches by 5 inches (76mm by 127mm), shall be included by the manufacturer with each Class 2 SRD. The card shall be white font (Arial, 16pt) on and orange background and shall state as follows:

WARNING: This Class 2 self-retracting device, when attached to a foot-level anchorage, poses significant risk of injury. The user, the competent person and/or qualified person, should all acknowledge that normal use of this device MAY NOT PREVENT A SERIOUS INJURY. Failure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions and warnings may result in serious injury or death.

ANSI Z359.11-2021 updates
FIgure 3. (Photo: ANSI)

5.1 Marking Requirements

5.1.3 (k)

Applicable pictograms in Figure 3 with a minimum height of 0.8 inches (20mm) or applicable pictograms from CSA Z259.10-18.

NEW: ANSI Z359.9-2021

Personal Equipment for Protection Against Falls-Descent Controllers

1.2 purpose and application

The purpose of this standard is to establish requirements for automatic and manual descent controllers intended for use in the workplace in rope access, rope descent and evacuation. Descent controller types are defined according to function and performance.

For more information on the SAIA and its councils, visit its website here.

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