Petzl: High Standards for Work-At-Height Products


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For over 25 years, family-owned and operated Petzl has been on a mission to create innovative tools and services that allow men and women to progress, position, and protect themselves in vertical environments. Petzl serves nine different industries, including telecommunications, and utilizes a cross-pollination of best practices in fall protection and rescue, which has made it synonymous with safety.

“We do things a bit differently at Petzl, and we’re proud of that,” says Professional Division National Sales Manager Michel Goulet. “Our technical sales reps are all proficient in recommending and demonstrating optimal solutions for work-at-height professionals. The R&D division staff are forward thinkers and active in the communities that we serve, and our owners are willing to invest resources to gain a technological edge in the marketplace.”

The cell tower industry is a key markets at Petzl, “our goal is to provide tower technicians with state-of-the-art and efficient tools that enable them to safely return home to their loved ones at the end of each day,” said Goulet.

Two products, the GRILLON positioning lanyard and the ABSORBICA-Y TIE-BACK fall arrest lanyard, help achieve that objective.

“Tower climbers safely access the upper reaches of structures by being connected to ladder fall protection systems. Once the technician leaves the ladder area to access different parts of the tower, a two leg shock absorbing fall arrest lanyard is needed to stay 100% connected to the tower. Should the climber need to work with both hands in a particular area, a positioning lanyard is used in conjunction with the fall arrest lanyard as required by OSHA fall protection regulations.


 The GRILLON is an adjustable lanyard used for work positioning. Its length can be easily and precisely adjusted as necessary for comfortable positioning at the workstation. Depending on the work area and your available harness connection points, it can be used in single or double mode. The GRILLON is available in seven standard rope lengths and two increased durability Technora sheath rope lengths.  They can be purchased with two different size connectors or with no connectors.

“There are several benefits of the GRILLON that I think are truly unique,” said Goulet. “Climbers can perform micro-adjustments both inwards and outwards with just one hand even when the lanyard is partially loaded. Also, it is multi-functional, and it can be used as an adjustable anchorage lanyard with a 2:1 load transfer hauling system during rescue operations. When you’re getting ready for a 500-foot tower climb, you don’t want to carry any extra gear. The GRILLON can serve several functions.”

Proper use of this lanyard includes wrapping it around appropriate tower members. It’s principal function is to hold climbers in place, giving them the ability to lean back in their harness and free both hands. The GRILLON is not designed to arrest falls but to position the climber; it does not have the required energy-absorbing capabilities as a fall arrest device.

“When you’re up a few hundred feet in the air, you don’t want any sudden uncontrolled movements as you adjust your positioning lanyard while you’re leaning back in your harness. With the GRILLON, a climber can adjust it smoothly without any jerky, uncontrolled movement,” said Goulet.


ABSORBICA-Y TIE-BACK is a double leg fall arrest lanyard with a compact energy absorber, designed for progression on vertical or horizontal structures, when passing intermediate anchors. It is available in two lengths: 80 or 150 cm versions (with large or small connectors, or without connectors). The 150 cm version has elasticized legs to avoid hindering ladder climbing progression.

“One element of the ABSORBICA-Y, 12 ft. free fall capacity lanyard critical for tower climbers, is its ability to decelerate a falling climber of different weights. It is able to keep average arresting forces on the fall arrest system and on the anchor points below 6kN (1,350 lbF). “This is crucial in order to limit the possibility of climber injury,” said Goulet.

When using a Y-lanyard, both legs can be connected to anchor points on the tower. However, a climber must always connect the leg not in use to the harnesses breakaway parking loop now required on all ANSI rated harnesses. “This allows the lanyard leg not in use to release from the harness and therefore not impede the deployment of the shock absorber, which can extend up to 60 inches on a 12 ft fall,” noted Goulet.

The rule of thumb on properly advancing on an aerial structure with a Y-lanyard is to “always connect one leg before disconnecting the others,” Goulet cautions. When using the ABSORBICA or any Y-lanyard, make sure the anchor points are as high as you can comfortably reach in order to limit possible free fall distances. Do not connect to diagonal members as this can also increase fall distance. Some people incorrectly wrap tower members and back clip connectors directly to the lanyard itself.  This can considerably reduce the strength of the connector in the event of a fall and it should not be done unless the connector is designed for that type of loading.  The ABSORBICA-Y comes with reinforced tie-back loops that allow proper connector orientation to maintain their full strength when wrapping large anchor points.

The ABSORBICA-Y lanyard has a lightweight construction using high modulus polyethylene fibers, which have high strength and low density. That’s why the ABSORBICA has a smaller webbing width to achieve the same or superior strength compared to other products on the market.

“The ABSORBICA-Y is designed with comfort in mind. Some tower lanyards are so long that loops hang by the climber’s knees, encumbering movement or causing ‘tripping hazards.’ When the ABSORBICA lanyard is connected to the harness’s dorsal D-Ring and its legs are connected to the upper breakaway loops near shoulder height, the lanyards hang under the user’s arms when not in use, so not to encumber movement during tower climbs,” said Goulet.

Both lanyards are certified to North American, European, and Russian standards. The GRILLON is certified to ANSI Z359.3, while the ABSORBICA is certified to Z359.13.

“There are many great companies out there, and we want to position Petzl products at the highest technical levels. We strive to make sure our products meet the most stringent safety performance standards so our customers can feel good about purchasing fall arrest and positioning solutions that they can trust,” Goulet added.

For more information on the GRILLON and ABSORBICA-Y TIE-BACK professional lanyards, and related products, click here.



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