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  • Lifting & Safety Gear Ltd

From Lanyards to Ratchet Straps: Knowing Your Safety Gear

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Lifting equipment and safety gear is required to be used across a variety of industries, whether it be looking after trees in arboricultural work or repairing a building in a construction project. When working from height is a necessity, so, too, is doing so safely, which is why it’s important to know the correct lifting and safety gear you need for your job.

We’ve put together this helpful guide explaining the different types of lifting safety gear there is and when these may be used in commercial applications. Keep reading below to learn more.

Viper chain block

Types of Lifting Safety Gear


When thinking of safety equipment when working at heights, many people often confuse lanyards and fall arresters as the same thing, however they actually have different purposes.

A lanyard is used to connect you to a stable anchor point when working from a height - it acts as a preventative measure. One end of the lanyard will securely connect to an anchor point on or along the structure upon which you are working and the other will connect to an attachment point on your harness. Their purpose is to stop you from falling, though this does mean that they can somewhat restrict the range of your movement depending on how long the lanyard you are using is.

Most lanyards are made with durable synthetic fibres, such as nylon, however they do come in various materials and designs. For example, if you are carrying out work at a height that also involves heat (e.g. welding or torch-cutting) then you would benefit from using a lanyard made of Kevlar due to its fire resistance properties.

In terms of design, you can also get forked lanyards, which have two separate ropes that can each be attached to an anchor point, thus allowing you to switch between anchor points should you need to without putting yourself at risk of falling in the process.

Fall Arresters

So, now you know about lanyards, how do fall arresters differ? Rather than acting as a preventative measure, fall arresters act as a counteractive safety measure. Fall arresters do not prevent a fall, but in the event that you do fall they will stop your fall before you hit the ground or other surface.

They also have a secondary purpose, which is to limit the forces on the body when decelerating a fall, absorbing the shock you will feel as much as possible.

These must be ergonomically designed in order to provide as much comfort to the user as possible and are often made with an internal specially woven shock absorbent webbing in order to best reduce the impact and potential injury on the body. It is important that, when in use, they are positioned in a way that limits the distance and consequences of a fall, such as considering if there are any nearby structures that need to be avoided.


Working in conjunction with lanyards and fall arresters, safety harnesses are used as part of an effective fall arrest system.

These harnesses are worn around the body, either around the waist, around the waist and legs or around your full body (waist, legs and over your shoulders). They have points on them, some with more some with less, for lanyards and fall arresters to be attached to as a way of ensuring maximum protection that is sufficient for the project or task being undertaken.

Some of these harnesses also come with pockets or reflective, high-visibility design for extra practicality and safety when working.

Slings & Ratchet Straps

Webbing slings and ratchet straps are both types of equipment used for safe lifting.

Webbing slings are lightweight and flexible with a wide surface area, meaning they help to protect the load you are lifting, whilst offering strength to do so through the use of durable polyester fibres. There are different types of webbing sling that can bear different weights, which is indicated through a colour-coded system.

As for ratchet straps, these are types of tie-down straps that allow you to tighten the strap around whatever cargo you are lifting, ensuring it is taut and the cargo secure.

Additional Equipment

In addition to the pieces of equipment and fall protection safety gear listed above, there are other pieces of equipment that are used to aid in the safe practice of hoisting and lifting.

These include:

Connectors (such as karabiners)

● Clamps

● Geared trolleys

● Magnetic lifters

Safety Gear Used in Practice

Now that we’ve explained the different types of lifting equipment and safety gear, you may be wondering when they may actually be used.

Here are five examples of industries where safety gear for working at heights is commonly used.


This one comes as no surprise, but it is, of course, a no brainer that roofers require safety gear for their work. Not only does working on roofs put them at height, but there is extra risk involved due to the slanted shape that many roofs have that makes them harder to navigate and easier to misplace footing.

Having the necessary safety gear in place not only allows roofers to move around rooftops with reassurance, but means they are compliant with their professional insurance and offers their customers reassurance that they will be able to carry out the work safely without the risk of injury, which otherwise would then also slow down the project.


Though they build from the ground up, in commercial construction it is not uncommon for workers to find themselves working from great heights. When carrying out repair work on buildings, for example, they will often find themselves atop tall scopes of scaffolding in order to complete the job.

It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that they provide the correct safety gear for their workers when working at such sites, then it is the responsibility of the workers to ensure they are wearing such safety equipment properly.

Forestry & Arboriculture

Many of us climbed trees when we were younger and a handful of us likely fell from one, too. It is for this reason that those who work in forestry and arboriculture work use harnesses and fall arrest systems when working in and on trees.

They often require the use of ropes and lifting equipment to get themselves up in the trees in the first place, using these to both climb and abseil the length of the tree in order to perform the necessary work.

Commercial Window Cleaning

All windows need to be cleaned (especially with the amount of rain and dust we experience in the UK) and that includes commercial buildings, such as skyscrapers. There are several ways in which window cleaners can reach these heights in order to clean the windows, including being lifted up in boom lifts, lowered down on platforms or abseiling down the face of the building.

Of course, lifting and safety equipment will be required when abseiling to clean the windows; as for when in boom lifts or platforms, it is good practice to use lanyards and fall arresters when in these as well, just in case of eventualities.


When there is a disruption to our broadband or internet, we often wish for it to be fixed hastily. It is people who work in telecommunications that will often be responsible for this.

Telecommunications engineers will have to scale their way up telecommunications or telegraph poles in order to fix any physical and mechanical issues that are causing disruption. These do not offer a lot of support, hence why it is especially imperative that they use sufficient fall arrest systems.

Finding Good Quality Restraint Lanyards

When looking to purchase safety equipment, any old harness or lanyard or fall arrester won’t necessarily do. It is best to invest in good quality equipment for numerous reasons.

Firstly, you’ll want to ensure the safety of both yourself and your staff. Doing so not only avoids potentially life-changing injuries, if not worse, but also ensures that when carrying out a work project it is carried out efficiently without disruption or delay from poor safety measures.

Ensuring you have high quality fall arrest systems also ensures that you will be compliant with your commercial insurance policy, in which you would be liable in the case an accident occurs where safety equipment was either not in place or not to a sufficient standard.

If you are looking for reliable lifting equipment and safety gear, whether for personal or commercial use, then look no further than Lifting & Safety Gear Ltd. All our gear includes test certification and is approved to British Manufacturing Standards. You can rest assured that you will be receiving the best products when shopping with us.

Contact us today to find out more about the stock we sell and with any queries regarding the equipment you may need.

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