If you have ever climbed a truss tower or wire rope ladder to rig, done a lighting fixture focus, worked a show-call as a truss spotlight operator, or for any other reason, you are familiar with self-retracting lifelines (SRLs), or “yo-yos” as they are commonly called, that provide fall protection.

What you may not be familiar with is how to determine whether one has been previously shock-loaded and needs replacement. It is typically very simple, but you have to know what you are looking for since obvious damage to an SRL may not otherwise be visible.

Many SRLs will have an “impact indicator” integral to the swivel hook connector the user clips into. The impact indicator provides a simple visual indication of whether or not the SRL has arrested a fall and is therefore in need of replacement. In the photos below there are two states – green and red – to indicate this. Green indicates that the SRL has not previously been shock-loaded and red indicates that it has. 

Always make this inspection when using an SRL. It is simple and quickly done and may save your life. 

Note: If the SRL you are using does not have an impact indicator as described here, ask your supervisor about alternate methods of inspection.