SRL/SRD Inspection Procedures

SRL/SRD Inspection Procedures

Posted by Howie Scarboro - CEO Fall Protection Distributors, LLC on Feb 29th 2024

In the high-stakes realm of occupational safety, the importance of protecting workers operating at elevated heights cannot be overstated.  Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs) and Self-Retracting Devices (SRDs) are at the forefront of this mission, providing essential fall protection while allowing for mobility. Their effectiveness, however, hinges on rigorous and regular inspections.

This guide aims to illuminate the crucial role of SRL/SRD inspections, outlining the vital procedures and standards necessary to maintain their effectiveness and ensure worker safety. Dive into the comprehensive exploration of the inspection processes for SRL/SRD retractables, a key factor in fortifying safety and adhering to stringent industry regulations.

SRLs and SRDs are designed to arrest falls within inches, making them a key component in fall protection systems. Their complex mechanism demands a thorough understanding for effective inspection. These devices consist of a retractable line of webbing or cable, which may vary in length, attached to a secure point. When a sudden force is applied, the mechanism locks, preventing a fall.

The primary purpose of SRLs and SRDs is to prevent fatal accidents in elevated work areas. Their role is critical in industries like construction, roofing, and tower climbing.

Key components include the housing, lifeline, snap hook, and braking mechanism. Each part must be inspected for wear, damage, or malfunction.  Be sure to start this process with a well planned  SRL/SRD inspection form that can stay on file.  

SRL inspection form for fall protection.

Importance of Inspections:

Regular inspections of SRLs and SRDs are non-negotiable when it comes to safeguarding workers' lives. These inspections help identify wear and tear, damage, or malfunctioning components that could jeopardize safety. By conducting thorough inspections, potential hazards can be mitigated, ensuring that fall protection equipment operates at peak performance when needed most.

Malta Dynamics has produced a couple of excellent explainer videos showcasing the procedures for SRL inspections.  

Frequency of Inspections:

Inspections should be carried out before each use and at regular intervals as recommended by safety regulations or manufacturer guidelines. Factors such as usage intensity, environmental conditions, and previous inspection findings may influence the frequency of inspections. Adhering to a consistent inspection schedule ensures that any issues are promptly addressed, reducing the risk of accidents.

OSHA requires at least one inspection per year to maintain an SRL in normal operating condition.  

Components to Inspect:

During inspections, attention should be given to various components of SRLs and SRDs, including the housing, lifeline or cable, brake mechanism, connector, and labels/markings. Any signs of damage, wear, or non-compliance should be thoroughly documented and addressed promptly. Inspecting each component ensures that the entire system functions seamlessly, providing reliable fall protection for workers.

Inspection Protocol:

A systematic inspection protocol should be followed to ensure comprehensive evaluation of SRLs and SRDs. This includes visual inspection for external damage, functional testing to verify proper operation, and verification of compliance with manufacturer specifications and safety standards. By adhering to a structured protocol, potential issues are less likely to be overlooked, bolstering workplace safety.

Here's a step-by-step procedure for inspecting a Self-Retracting Lifeline (SRL) or Self-Retracting Device (SRD):

1. Preparation:

Gather necessary equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, and a checklist.

Ensure the SRL/SRD is disconnected from the anchorage point and not under tension.

2. Visual Inspection:

Inspect the housing for any cracks, dents, or signs of damage.

Check the lifeline or cable for cuts, fraying, corrosion, or other forms of damage.

Examine the brake mechanism for proper operation and any signs of wear or malfunction.

Inspect the connector for wear, deformation, or damage.

3. Functional Testing:

Extend and retract the lifeline/cable several times to ensure smooth operation.

Test the braking system by slowly extending the lifeline/cable and then stopping abruptly to engage the brake.

- Ensure the locking mechanism engages properly when the lifeline/cable is fully extended.

4. Label and Marking Verification:

Check for legible labels and markings on the housing, lifeline/cable, and connector.

Verify that the labels include important information such as manufacturer, model, serial number, and inspection dates.

5. Compliance Verification:

Compare the inspection findings with manufacturer specifications and safety standards.

Ensure that the SRL/SRD meets all regulatory requirements and industry standards.

6. Documentation:

Record inspection findings, including any issues identified and actions taken.

Note the date of inspection and any relevant information for future reference.

7. Repair or Replacement (if necessary):

If any issues are found during the inspection, follow manufacturer guidelines for repair or replacement.

Use only manufacturer-approved replacement parts and follow recommended procedures for repairs.

8. Reassembly and Storage:

Once inspection and any necessary repairs are complete, reassemble the SRL/SRD according to manufacturer instructions.

Store the equipment in a clean, dry location away from moisture, extreme temperatures, and exposure to sunlight.

9. Training and Education:

Ensure that workers are trained on proper inspection procedures and are aware of the importance of regular inspections.

Provide ongoing education and training on fall protection equipment and safety practices.

10. Repeat Inspections:

Schedule regular inspections according to manufacturer recommendations, safety regulations, and company policies.

Conduct inspections before each use and at regular intervals to ensure ongoing safety and compliance.

By following this step-by-step procedure, you can effectively inspect SRLs and SRDs to ensure their reliability and safety in fall protection systems.


Documenting inspection results is crucial for maintaining compliance and tracking equipment maintenance. Detailed records should include findings, actions taken, and dates of inspections. Proper documentation serves as a valuable reference for future inspections and provides a clear audit trail of safety measures implemented in the workplace.

Training and Competency:

Training workers on proper inspection procedures is essential for ensuring thorough and accurate assessments of fall protection equipment. Workers should be competent in identifying potential hazards and know how to address them effectively. Ongoing education and awareness programs contribute to a safety-conscious work environment, where the well-being of workers remains a top priority.

Equipment inspection may be a part of your 16 hour Competent Person training curriculum or you can also attend classes specifically for Equipment Inspection.  Understanding OSHA's training hierarchy is essential to maintaining a safe and accident-free workplace.  

Repair and Replacement:

Issues identified during inspections should be addressed promptly through proper repair or replacement of defective components. Using manufacturer-approved parts and following recommended repair procedures are crucial for maintaining equipment integrity and safety standards. By addressing issues proactively, the reliability of  fall protection systems is upheld, minimizing the risk of accidents.


In the realm of workplace safety, vigilance is key. Regular inspections of  SRLs and SRDs are fundamental to ensuring the safety of workers at heights. By following a structured inspection protocol, documenting findings, and addressing issues promptly, employers can create a safer work environment where workers can perform their duties with confidence. Prioritizing safety through comprehensive inspections underscores the commitment to protecting the most valuable asset in any workplace – it's people.

For a more in-depth review of OSHA's fall protection recommendations, check out our 48 page guide  

10 SRL Inspection FAQ’s

1. Q: Why are SRL and SRD inspections important in workplace safety?

A: Inspections of Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs) and Self-Retracting Devices (SRDs) are crucial for identifying potential hazards and ensuring compliance with safety regulations, ultimately safeguarding workers at heights.

2. Q: What components should be inspected during SRL and SRD evaluations?

A: During inspections, attention should be given to housing integrity, lifeline condition, brake mechanism functionality, connector reliability, and compliance with manufacturer specifications.

3. Q: How often should SRL and SRD inspections be conducted?

A: Inspections should occur before each use and at regular intervals, as recommended by safety regulations or manufacturer guidelines, to address wear, tear, or environmental factors affecting equipment integrity.

4. Q: What is the protocol for conducting SRL and SRD inspections?

A: The inspection protocol involves visual assessment for external damage, functional testing to ensure proper operation, and verification of compliance with safety standards and manufacturer specifications.

5. Q: What should be done if issues are found during inspections?

A: Issues identified during inspections should be addressed promptly through proper repair or replacement of defective components, using manufacturer-approved parts and following recommended procedures to maintain equipment safety.

6. Q: How should inspection results be documented?

A: Detailed documentation of inspection findings, actions taken, and dates of inspections is essential for compliance purposes and as a reference for future evaluations, ensuring transparency and accountability in safety measures.

7. Q: Why is training on SRL and SRD inspection procedures important?

A: Training workers on proper inspection procedures ensures thorough assessments of fall protection equipment, enhances workplace safety awareness, and empowers employees to identify and address potential hazards effectively.

8. Q: What are the consequences of neglecting SRL and SRD inspections?

A: Neglecting inspections can result in equipment failure, increased risk of accidents, non-compliance with safety regulations, potential injuries, and legal liabilities for employers.

9. Q: How can companies ensure compliance with OSHA regulations regarding fall protection equipment?

A: Companies can ensure compliance by implementing regular inspections, providing comprehensive training on equipment usage and inspection protocols, and staying informed about updates to safety regulations.

10. Q: What are some best practices for maintaining SRL and SRD equipment integrity?

A: Best practices include storing equipment properly, conducting regular inspections, promptly addressing any issues, using manufacturer-approved replacement parts, and providing ongoing training and education on safety protocols.

Howie Scarboro, C.E.O. and co-founder of Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C., recognized the need for continued improvements in roofing safety during the 2010 MetalCon show in Las Vegas. He joined forces with SnoBlox-Snojax, a leader in snow retention and seam clamping technology for metal roofs, to create the SSRA1 prototype. Tested by Gravitec for OSHA/ANSI certifications, the SSRA1 proved to be the industry's lightest, most robust, and most universal-fit anchor point for standing seam roofs. Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C. was born in 2015, shaping the future of fall protection and instilling confidence in the industry.