CSA: New Standards for Fall Arresters and Vertical Lifelines


Capital Safety

260 Export Boulevard, Mississauga, ON L5S 1Y9

Tel: 905-795-9333


A White Paper Discussing the New CSA Z259.2.5-12 Standard
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) has released a new Standard dealing with the certification of fall arresters and vertical lifelines. The Standard was released in 2012 and immediately ran into issues with the Testing and Compliance Group at CSA. They were not equipped to handle some of the testing and there were questions regarding the sloped roof test which required resolution.

The standard has now ready for implementation and is on the threshold of being released. CSA has yet to inform manufacturers of an “in service” date for the standard therefore there has been no cancellation date issued for products sold under the current standard CSA Z259.2.1-98. Therefore, until further notice, products approved under the current standard can be sold and remain in CSA compliance. New Standard details are described below.

Major Changes
While some of the contents remain the same, there are key elements for manufacturers and users regarding the build and application of the product which did not exist in CSA Z259.2.1-98. Most of the items discussed in this paper will focus on the product changes, product compatibility and new testing.

Standard Scope
The new standard has a broader scope that its predecessor. The new scope now includes sloped surface applications as well as vertical applications. It no longer covers rigid rail applications of any kind. Those are now found in CSA Z 259.2.4-12.

The new standard has revoked the identification classes for fall arresters (rope grabs). Instead, there is a new emphasis on identifying the rope grab on the product label in the following manner:
1. Fall arrester – a component that
a. Engages a vertical lifeline in a vertical or sloped plane;
b. accepts a connecting linkage;
c. moves along the lifeline with the worker;
d. engages the lifeline automatically to arrest a fall.

2. Manual fall arrester – a fall arrester that
a. Locks onto a synthetic lifeline;
b. requires a worker’s manual action to move it along the lifeline;
c. connects to the dorsal D-ring of a harness;
d. remains engaged on the lifeline if released or held beyond its non-engaged position.
3. Park feature – manually operated feature of the fall arrester that holds it in place on the lifeline.
4. Panic lock feature – remains unchnged but is required for all synthetic rope devices.

Design requirements
The most important end user item covered in the standard deems that lifelines match the rope grabs to which they are best suited by the manufacturer. All fall arresters shall be designed and marked in a way that ensures that they are used with a lifeline in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations. (Clause 4.3.1) This is similar to the last update of the previous standard but it is now clearly stated in the Design Requirements section.

1. Synthetic rope fall arresters
a. Not longer than 750 mm (30 in) for dorsal attachment;
b. integral or separate.
2. Wire rope fall arresters
a. Not longer than 225 mm (9 in) for sternal attachment;
b. integral or separate.
3. All connectors will meet Z259.11 and Z259.12.

Unlike the previous standard where polypropylene was admissible if UV protected, that is no longer the case. Only copolymer versions of polypropylene ropes are now allowed.

1. All lifelines will have a termination at each end;
a. one end with either a Class 1 connector or a Class 2 connector equipped with a Class 1 connecter (a thimble with a D-ring or carabiner);
b. the second end must be finished with a termination that prevents the rope grab from passively coming off the lifeline.
2. Lifeline stretch has been standardized at 10% on an 8 kN load. There was a separate number for polyamide and polyester in the previous Standard but they are now grouped under the one value.

Slope test
A keen addition to the test procedure is the test on a sloped structure obviously designed to reflect the use of the product on a sloped roof. When the test is performed in accordance with the test regimen, the device is allowed to slip 1 meter (39 in) from the dorsal attachment point.


Markings and information
Fall arrester markings
1. Manufacturer’s name or logo;
2. type(s) and diameter(s) of lifeline(s) with which the device may be used as specified by the manufacturer. (This refers to the device manufacturer and not the rope manufacturer);
3. permanent arrow up indicator;
4. manual or automatic indicator and attachment point indicator;
5. lot or serial number with the date of manufacture;
6. Standard designation (Z259.2.5);
7. minimum and maximum slope designation;
8. warning to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Lifeline markings
1. Manufacturer’s name or logo;
2. fibre used and construction type (synthetic rope only);
3. rope diameter;
4. model number and length;
5. percentage elongation under 8 kN load both wet and dry (synthetic rope only);
6. tensile strength with termination if applicable;
7. lot or serial number with the date of manufacture;
8. Standard designation (Z259.2.5);
9. warning to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use;
10. a statement to inspect before each use and at least annually.

Informational material
1. Intended purpose of the device;
2. hazard warnings;
3. a warning that care must be exercised when selecting the connector between the fall arrester and the attachment point on the harness to ensure free fall distances in all work situations is in government compliance;
4. a warning to ensure lifeline stretch is included in the clearance calculations;
5. instruction for proper use and limitations on use including the following statement: “The lower end of the lifeline shall have a termination that prevents the fall arrester from passing through that termination. When the line is installed, the bottom end shall have a counterweight to provide stiffness.”;
6. recommendations for care and storage.

The general spirit of the standard remains unchanged. The specifics of making sure the end user is safe during use has required additional testing and administrative work to take place before the rope grab can be brought to market. This includes matching the lifeline to the roe grab, additional markings and the sloped drop test. Watch for the cancellation date of the old standard to be published soon.