Self-Retracting Lifeline Standards Update

Summary of the New ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 Standard for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems

By Raymond A. Mann and Heidi Lopez-Hidalgo, 3M

On August 01, 2023, the American National Standard for the Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices (SRDs) became effective. As of this date, manufacturers were required to conform to this latest revision of the ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard document.  The requirements of this revised standard supersede any corresponding requirements in ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2014, ANSI/ASSP Z359.1, ANSI/ASSP Z359.3 and ANSI/ASSP Z359.4 American National Standards.

The information contained in this summary is derived from 3M Fall Protection’s review and interpretation and is not intended to be a substitute for reading the official ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 document in its entirety.  Our intention is to help educate employers, safety personnel, system designers and equipment users with the most current product performance requirements applicable to their personal fall arrest systems and equipment.

This standard applies to all SRDs used in occupations requiring personal protection against falls from heights and, if required, shall allow for the specialized functions of travel restraint,  rescue and or retrieval.

Let’s take a look at the historical timeline of the product standards and regulatory requirements addressing SRDs used in personal fall protection systems.

  • ANSI Z359.1 first provided performance guidance on fall protection equipment in May 1992. This document included language on self-retracting devices.
  • ANSI Z359.1 was reaffirmed in 1999
  • January 2012, ANSI/ASSE Z359.14 was published defining the Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices becoming effective August 20, 2012. Leading Edge and Class A and B devices were first established.
  • September 17, 2014, ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012 was revised and published in February 2015 defining the Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices under ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2014. Additional information regarding leading edge devices was included.
  • June 17, 2021, a revision of ANSI/ASSP Z359.14 was published defining the Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices with an effective date of August 01, 2022 for manufacturers to comply. New effectivity date was established as February 01, 2023.
  • November 2022, the ANSI/ASSP Z359 committee approved a second effectivity date extension.
  • New effectivity date established by ANSI/ASSP Z359 is now August 01, 2023

The Following information is provided as an overview of notable changes between the previous 2014 and new 2021 revisions within ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard

  1. New: ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 test mass has increased to 310 pounds (140kg). Previous Revision: 282 pounds (128kg).
  2. Updated: SRL categories have been designated
    a. SRL
    b. SRL-P (New) for Personal SRL
    c. SRL-R (Carry over from previous revision)
    d. SRL-LE has been removed and will now be designated under Class 2
  3. Updated: SRD Classifications revised
    a. Class 1 SRD – For use with anchorages AT or ABOVE the dorsal D-ring. Maximum allowable freefall not to exceed 2 feet
    b. Class 2 SRD – For use with anchorages AT or BELOW the dorsal D-ring. Maximum allowable freefall not to exceed 6 feet (1.8m)

Previous Revision: 2014 revision designated Class A and B devices.

4. Updated: Webbing and Synthetic Rope used in Class 2 devices must now have a minimum tensile breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2kN).

Previous Revision: 2014 revision this was 4,500 pounds (20kN).

class one and class 2

Class Designation Icons

5.  New: Class 2 devices are now required to have an integral energy absorber on the lifeline. This energy absorber must meet all of the ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 testing requirements or independently meet the ANSI/ASSP Z359.13 requirements.  For SRL-P devices where the device attaches to the users dorsal D-ring instead of the anchorage, no energy absorber is required on the lifeline.  The SRD must provide some means to dissipate the arresting forces.

6. New: Class 2 devices shall include labels illustrating a fall clearance table and diagram of the axes shown in the table. These labels shall be affixed to the product, preferably at or near the point of attachment to the full body harness.

7.  Updated: Static Strength Test – All SRDs must be capable of withstanding a 3,600 pound (16kN) static load for one minute with the lifeline constituent fully extracted. Previous Revision: 2014 revision was a 3,000 pound (13.3kN) static test.

8.  New: SRDs that do not incorporate an internal braking system must hold a minimum 1,800 pound (8kN) static load while the brake pawls or other brake activation system is engaged and locked with at least 75% of the lifeline constituent remaining on the drum assembly.

9.  New: SRL-P devices with twin or dual legs must hold a 3,600-pound (16kN) load applied from leg to leg.

10.  New: SRL-P devices designed to wrap around an anchorage or tie back onto themselves must hold a load of 3,600 pounds (16kN) applied after completion of 2,500 cycles of abrasion testing with the lifeline constituent wrapped around a testing I-beam fixture.

11.  New: SRL-P and Class 2 devices DO NOT need to retract after the overhead dynamic performance tests.

12.  New: Class 2 SRL-P devices shall include a clearance requirement label.

13. Updated: During ambient dynamic performance testing utilizing a 310-pound (140kg) test mass, the average arresting force (AAF) allowed has been increased from 900 (4kN) to 1350 (6kN) pounds and the arrest distance (AD) has been shortened to 42 inches (1,067mm). For the conditioning tests, AAF remains at 1575 pounds (7kN), but the AD is now 42 inches (1,067mm). Previous Revision: Both Ads are down from 54 inches (1,372mm) with conditioning temperatures and times remaining same as previous.

14. New: SRL-P devices must pass a dynamic performance test with a 310-pound (140kg) weight and a 6 foot (1.8m) free fall and keep the MAF at 1800 pounds (8kN) or less. (lifeline does not get pinned or restrained to prevent retraction)

class 2 clearance chart

CLASS 2 Integral Clearance Chart Example.

harness diagram

CLASS 2 Illustration of Axes Example.

harness clearance chart

15. New: Class 2 SRD must pass a dynamic test over an edge with a 310 (140kg) pound weight and the AAF must not exceed 1350 pounds (6kN) and MAF not exceed 1800 pounds (8kN) ambient and AAF 1575 pounds (7kN) conditioned.

16. New: SRL-R function tests are the same but static testing when in retrieval mode is now 3600 pounds (16kN).

17. New: SRLs with internal brakes must pass a test with the lifeline shortened to 42 inches (1,067mm), then have 36 inches (914mm) +/- 1.0-inch (25mm) clipped out, then have a 310-pound (140kg) weight free falling 2 feet (.6m) and must maintain MAF at 1800 pounds (8kN) or less.

18. Updated: SRL-P and Class 2 devices can only have up to 48 inches (1,219mm) of line outside the SRL housing when fully retracted. Previous Revision:  60 inches (1.5m).

19. New: Warning card is required to be provided as a separate card insert with each SRD.

harness warning

Warning card required as separate card with each SRD.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Is it mandatory that I must update my existing SRDs to the new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard revision after the August 01, 2023 effectivity date arrives?

No, existing SRD equipment manufactured to previous revisions of the ANSI Z359.14 standard may continue to be used, provided the product continues to meet all inspection requirements as defined by the manufacturer’s instructions for use, and conducted at the recommended intervals by a Competent Person.

Can distributors still sell SRDs after the August 01, 2023 effectivity date arrives?

Even after August 01, 2023, a distributor can continue to sell any existing inventory of their SRDs as long as those devices have a manufacturing date of prior to August 01, 2023.  Any SRDs manufactured after August 01, 2023 shall be certified to the new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard by the manufacturer, in order to be sold to end users.

Are there new Self-Retracting Lifeline (SRL) categories established under this Standard revision?

Yes, ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 is updated to have three Self-Retracting Lifeline categories

  1. SRL (Self-Retracting Lifeline) – for standard or leading edge applications
  2. New: SRL-P  (Personal SRL) – mounted on harness and for standard or leading edge applications
  3. SRL-R (Retrieval Self-Retracting Lifeline) – SRL with retrieval or rescue functionality

SRL-LE (Leading Edge) has been removed as a category, but will now be designated as class 2 SRDs

Are there new SRL categories created with this Standard revision?

Yes, under each SRL category, there are now new Class designations.  Class A and Class B devices have now been re-designated as Class 1 or Class 2 devices, under the new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard.  SRDs must now show a Class 1 or 2 SRD label on the product in order to designate its Class type.

  1. Class 1 SRD – Must be used with an anchorage point at or above the dorsal D-ring.
  2. Class 2 SRD – For use with an anchorage either above or below the dorsal D-ring.

This means for applications requiring an anchorage point below the dorsal D-Ring, and when using SRDs certified to the new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard, a Class 2 Leading Edge rated SRD must now be used.

Are there any new labeling requirements?

Yes, new labels are required to be affixed to the product displaying the device Class, along with a fall clearance indicator table, preferably at or near the point of attachment to the full body harness.  This chart will indicate minimum fall clearance based on position of the worker on the working surface.

Is there any additional warning information required with the SRLs?

Yes, for Class 2 SRDs (Leading Edge SRLs), a new warning card is now required to be provided as a separate (orange) card insert.  This card acknowledges that there are risks with leading edge applications and users should follow all manufacturer’s instructions and warnings.

Have the arresting distances changed for both classes?

Yes, the new maximum deceleration distance for both a Class 1 and Class 2 is 42 in. (1,067mm).  The previous distance was 24 in. (610 mm) for Type A and 54 in (1,372 mm) for Type B.

Has the ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection Code increased the maximum user weight capacity?

No, ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection Code defines user weight capacities as between 130 lbs. (59 kg) and 310 lbs. (140 kg).

Has the ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 qualification testing mass for manufacturers been increased?

Yes, the testing mass has been increased from 282 pounds (128 kg) to 310 pounds (140 kg)

Will my existing Fall Protection anchorage be sufficient to use with the Self-Retracting Lifelines newly certified to ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021?

With the ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard having new requirements for the allowed Average Arresting Force (AAF) increasing from 900 lbs. (4 kN) to 1,350 lbs. (6 kN), it is necessary to confirm the strength of your anchorage is sufficient for the increased values in AAF.  Always check the product label for the actual AAF indicated on the Self-Retracting Lifeline, to validate use with appropriate anchorages.

Note: Some Self-Retracting Lifeline models may have a AAF of less than 1,350 lbs., and still meet the new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard.

Where can I find additional information from 3M on this new ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 Standard revision?

Visit the 3M Fall Protection landing page ANSI-ASSP-Z359.14-2021 Updated Standard ( , contact your local 3M Distributor or call 3M Fall Protection at 800-328-6146

IMPORTANT NOTE: Products manufactured to previous revisions of the ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 standard may continue to be used as long as the product continues to meet the inspection requirements as defined by the manufacturer, conducted at the recommended intervals by a Competent Person.


Ray Mann, QSSP, is a 3M Senior Specialist Application Engineer. Heidi Lopez-Hidalgo, P.E., is a 3M Application Engineer Specialist.

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