A customer recently wrote to ask us the following question:
If my 6 ft. self-retracting lifeline (SRL) is pulled all the way to the end, is there any excess line/cable left on the reel if I take a fall?
The answer is yes, there will be an extra turn or two left to insure that the force of a fall won’t tear the webbing or cable off the reel. The length of an SRL is generally measured from bearing to bearing. In other words from the anchor point to the snap hook at the end of the extended lifeline. You may find that you get a little extra, but that length would be the design minimum.
With more cable or web in reserve, the stopping action still works on the reel, not the actual lifeline or the attachment to the reel. Depending on the style of SRL, the braking may work with centrifugally-activated braking pawls, but only in the case of an external shock-absorber style, or an internal braking system on the larger and more expensive models such as the Sealed Blok SRL from DBI-SALA.
We'll take a small leap here and say yes, the SRL will still stop you from falling even if the lifeline is fully extended. Always read your instruction manual for proper deployment of your SRL. However, the SRL lines we carry, such as DBI-SALA and Protecta, go through extensive testing to insure your fall safety.