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UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI

_____________ , 20 _____
I,______________________________________________,
hereby submit this as part of the requirements for the
degree of:
________________________________________________
in:
________________________________________________
It is entitled:
________________________________________________
________________________________________________
________________________________________________
________________________________________________
Approved by:
________________________
________________________
________________________
________________________
________________________
August 14 03
Xiaohua Annie Yu
Master of Science
Civil Engineering
Time History Analysis of the Dynamic Response of
Horizontal Lifelines
Frank E. Weisgerber, PhD
James A. Swanson, PhD
T. Michael Baseheart, PhD

Time History Analysis of the Dynamic Response of
Horizontal Lifelines

A thesis submitted to the

Division of Research and Advanced Studies
Of the University of Cincinnati

In partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF SCIENCE

in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
of the College of Engineering

2003

by

Xiaohua Annie Yu

M.S., Tongji University, 1996
B.S., Ningbo University, 1993

Thesis Committee:
Dr. Frank E. Weisgerber, Chair
Dr. T. Michael Baseheart
Dr. James A. Swanson



Abstract

Workers at elevated positions must be protected from falling or from hazardous
consequences of falls. A horizontal lifeline system (HLL) is a commonly used fall arrest system
(FAS) that provides protection such that when a fall does occur, the fall would be stopped
promptly in a manner that prevents injury.
Although the HLL systems have been in use for several decades, the design of these
systems is generally completed using simple methods. One popular design method is based on a
simplified energy balance analysis, which is to predict the maximum force and the maximum
displacement for a fall of one person. This method may be applied to the special case of multiple
persons falling only with the restrictive assumption that all people in the system must fall
precisely simultaneously. It is generally regarded that this assumption is implausible and
furthermore, the validity of consequent solution has not been verified because of limitation of the
analysis method. The present research shows the simultaneous-fall assumption may result in an
unconservative solution.
In this paper, a numerical time-history method is introduced. Based on this method, two
computer programs are developed: one for the single-person fall and the second for the two-
person fall. Satisfactory agreement has been found in comparison with previous research results.
Using these programs, an extensive parametric analysis has been conducted on the configuration
of the HLL system. Suggestions for design optimization are provided.


Acknowledgements

I owe my thanks and gratitude to my advisor Dr. Frank Weisgerber for being such a
wonderful mentor and friend. He is always being encouraging, understanding, and ready to help.
He not only shared with me his great insights and provided timely guidance; but also put
remarkable efforts improving readability of the entire paper. Without him this work would not be
possible.
I would like to thank Dr. Baseheart for being my co-advisor. He was an excellent
supervisor for my TA work and quite exhilarating to work for. I registered for his STRUCTURE
DYNAMICS and it turned out to be a dynamic and enlightening class. I wish I have taken the
TIMBER AND MASONRY class by him, so that the preparation of my PE exam could be
accelerated.
Thank Dr. Swanson for serving on my committee. I feel so lucky that I had Dr. Swanson
to be my instructor for the THEORY OF STEEL STRUCTURES class. In my memory he is
always ready and happy to answer questions, with his famous big smile on. I benefit so much
from his class and I am grateful.
I am thankful to my dearest sister Xiaoxia for being my best friend with her
unconditional love and support. As well I thank all my family and friends, whether they are
living cross the ocean or in Cincinnati. They are who make my life meaningful and wonderful. I
would like to dedicate the paper to them.


Table of Contents


List of Figures.................................................................................................................... iii
List of Symbols.................................................................................................................. vi
Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Why fall-protection? ................................................................................................1
1.2 Types and Applications of Fall-Protection ............................................................. 2
1.3 Components of an HLL system.............................................................................. 9
1.4 Design issues of HLL systems...............................................................................12
1.5 Objective................................................................................................................13
Chapter 2 RESEARCH BACKGROUND........................................................................14
Chapter 3 METHODOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
3.1 Illustration of the problem.....................................................................................17
3.2 Numerical analysis method....................................................................................24
3.3 Algorithm of computer simulation ........................................................................29
3.4 Errors involved in numerical integration of dynamic motions problems of HLL system
......................................................................................................................................35
3.5 Cable Setup Condition ..........................................................................................36
3.6 Assumptions of the Method...................................................................................39



i

Chapter 4 PARAMETRIC STUDIES
4.1 Analytical result for a typical one-person fall........................................................43
4.2 Parametric analysis of one-person fall ...................................................................48
4.3 Analytical result for a typical two-person fall .......................................................57
4.4 Parametric analysis of two-person fall...................................................................65
Chapter 5 Conclusions ......................................................................................................75
References..........................................................................................................................78




















ii

List of Figures


No. Name Page
Figure 1.2.1 A simple FAS System Fixed Point Anchorage System 3
Figure 1.2.2 A Potential Hazardous Swing Fall 3
Figure 1.2.3 A HLL Fall-Protection System 4
Figure 1.2.4 HLL System Eliminating the Swing Fall in Lifeline Direction 5
Figure 1.2.5 Multi-Span HLL System Theorized as a Single-Span System 7
Figure 1.2.6 A Special Case Where Needs the H-shaped HLL System 8
Figure 1.2.7 H-shaped HLL System Theorized as a Single-Span System 9
Figure 1.3.1 HLL Components 10
Figure 3.1.1 Single -Person HLL System Before and After fall 18
Figure 3.1.2 Illustration of Models 19
Figure 3.1.3 A Cable System with Energy Absorbers 20
Figure 3.1.4 Free Body Diagram of a Cable System 20
Figure 3.1.5 Bisection Method 23
Figure 3.1.6 Flow Chart of Resisting Force Calculation 25
Figure 3.1.7 Resisting Force of an HLL system 26
Figure 3.2.1 Models of Systems 27
Figure 3.2.2 Analytic Methods 29
Figure 3.3.1 One Degree Dynamic System 31

iii

Figure 3.5.1 Cable Subject to Uniformly Distributed Load 39
Figure 3.5.2 Cable with Flexible Anchorages 40
Figure 3.5.3 Equivalent Lump Weight of Cable 40
Figure 3.6.1 Equilibrium Analysis at the Beginning of a Fall 43
Figure 3.6.2 Cable Weight Approximation 44
Figure 4.1.1 Time-History of Displacements 46
Figure 4.1.2 Time-History of Forces 47
Figure 4.1.3 Time-History of Velocities 47
Figure 4.1.4 Time History of Energy and Work 49
Figure 4.2.1 Displacements Comparison 51
Figure 4.3.1 Two-Person HLL System Before and After fall 60
Figure 4.3.2 Time-History of Displacements (Two Masses, !t=0.0) 62
Figure 4.3.3 Time-History of Forces (Two Masses, !t=0.0) 62
Figure 4.3.4 Time-History of Velocities (Two Masses, !t=0.0) 63
Figure 4.3.5 Time History of Energy and Work (Two Masses, !t=0.0) 64
Figure 4.4.1 Time-History of Displacements (Two Masses, !t=0.2s) 69
Figure 4.4.2 Time-History of Forces (Two Masses, !t=0.2s) 69
Figure 4.4.3 Time-History of Velocities (Two Masses, !t=0.2s) 70
Figure 4.4.4 Time History of Energy and Work (Two Masses, !t=0.2s) 70
Figure 4.4.5 Time-History of Displacements (Two Masses, !t=0.4s) 72
Figure 4.4.6 Time-History of Forces (Two Masses, !t=0.4s) 72

iv

Figure 4.4.7 Time-History of Velocities (Two Masses, !t=0.4s) 73
Figure 4.4.8 Time History of Energy and Work (Two Masses, !t=0.4s) 73
Figure 4.4.9 Time-History of Displacements (Two Masses, !t=0.6s) 75
Figure 4.4.10 Time-History of Forces (Two Masses, !t=0.6s) 75
Figure 4.4.11 Time-History of Velocities (Two Masses, !t=0.6s) 76
Figure 4.4.12 Time History of Energy and Work (Two Masses, !t=0.6s) 76
















v

List of Symbols

A Cable effective cross-section area
E Cable effective elasticity modulus
EA Energy absorber
EAF Energy absorber threshold force
EAHLL Energy Absorber built into the cable
EAVLL Energy Absorber built into the lanyard
F Sag of the cable
FAS Fall arrest system
f
s
Resisting force in a dynamic system
FFD Free fall distance
H Horizontal component of the cable tension
HLL Horizontal lifeline
Kc Equivalent stiffness of the Columns or stanchions, i.e. anchorage stiffness
L Stressed length or curved length of the cable
L
0
Unstressed length or length of the cable at zero tension
M, m Mass of a fall object
MAF Maximum arresting force of a fall arrest device
MAL Maximum Anchorage Loads
n Cable sag ratio, ration of sag to span

vi



P Force of the lanyard
S Nominal span of the cable
T Tension of the cable
TFD Total fall distance
V Vertical component of the cable tension
VLL Vertical lifeline
W Cable weight per unit length
x Anchorage spring deformation under anchorage force












vii
1
Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Why fall-protection?
Elevated fall hazard is an essential concern in every industry. According to the National
Safety Council Accident Facts (1997), falls to lower levels were the third leading cause of fatal
occupational injuries [1]. And in the field of construction, for example, statistics show even
higher rates of fall casualties for construction workers, with one in every six construction
workers suffering an occupational injury or illness on the average of about once a year. Falling is
the number one cause of construction accidents and deaths [3].
Every year, occupational accidents cost billions of dollars in economic loss. According to
The Business Roundtable survey in 1982 [2], direct and indirect costs of accidents account for a
staggering 6.5% of the cost in industrial, utility and commercial construction.
Besides the considerable economic loss of accidents, the toll in human waste, misery and
suffering through occupational injuries, sickness and deaths is immeasurable. Therefore, OSHA
(Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and other organizations such as NIOSH
(National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) have drafted strict regulations on the issue
of fall protection, requiring that any worker in an elevated position must be protected from
falling or from the hazardous consequence of falls.
Both OSHA and ANSI (The American National Standards Institute) standards identify
the various circumstances under which fall protection is required: when the potential fall height
2
exceed 6 feet (1.8m), (OSHA 1926.502(d)(16)(iii)) for the construction industry, and 4 feet for
general industry.
Some common fall protection applications are listed as below:
o Structural framing
o Building rooftops
o Bridge construction
o Railcar and truck loading
o Industrial crane runways
o Pipe racks
o Aircraft hangars
o Arena rigging
o Exposed walkways
o Drilling
o Mining

1.2 Types and Applications of Fall-Protection
There are two main forms of fall protection: Fall Prevention and Fall Arrest. Fall
prevention devices for industrial use include fences, guardrails and warning lines, etc., and
restraint systems that prevent the workers from reaching any point from which they can fall. Fall
arrest devices include safety nets and a variety of fall arrest systems (FAS), which are able to
arrest a fall in progress while limiting fall distance and impact force to prevent harmful
3
consequences. Fall arrest systems are typically more appropriate for infrequently visited
locations where fall prevention systems are not feasible.

Fig 1.2.1 A simple FAS System Fixed Point Anchorage System

Fig 1.2.2 A Potential Hazardous Swing Fall
Obstruction
4
A simple fall arrest system (FAS), which is called fixed point anchorage system,
consists of a harness worn by the worker attached by a fixed length lanyard to a single point
anchorage, as shown in Fig. 1.2.1. Another available simple fall arrest system is vertical lifeline
system (VLL). A VLL has a vertical rope to which a lanyard is attached by way of a rope grab. It
can be observed that, whether regarding design or installation, simplicity is the major advantage
of these systems. Unfortunately the fixed point systems and VLL system are sometimes
impractical as they greatly restrict the area that the worker can reach. Another deficiency for the
fixed point anchorage system is a high potential for a swing fall hazard when the worker moves
horizontally beyond the anchorage point, as shown in Fig 1.2.2. Therefore, those simple systems
are more applicable and efficient when workers merely need to move vertically within a small
horizontal range. A typical application is for workers on electric transmission towers.

Fig 1.2.3 A HLL Fall-Protection System
5
Beyond the fixed point anchorage system and VLL system there are some more
complicated fall arrest systems. The horizontal lifeline (HLL) is a widely-used one, which
combines a horizontal lifeline with a fall arresting lanyard, as shown in Fig. 1.2.3 and Fig. 1.2.4.
Since the hazard of the swing fall in the lifeline direction is eliminated, this system is especially
effective for cases when workers need to travel parallel to edges of a precipice, or the work
location is laterally distant from the available anchorage points. With a high degree of mobility
and safety when properly designed, the HLL system has been widely utilized in both industrial
and construction circumstances.


Fig 1.2.4 HLL System Eliminating the Swing Fall in Lifeline Direction

In this paper, the combination of the HLL rope and the connecting lanyard(s) are referred
to as the HLL system. The term horizontal lifeline is used either referring to the cable alone or
the HLL system.
The general HLL system has various forms including the single span HLL, multi-span
HLL, H-shaped HLL and a few other special forms.
The single span HLL is the most commonly used HLL system and contains the
fundamental concepts of design of HLL system. With only two anchorage points, the single span
HLL is limited to a straight line. Since long spans result in large deflections, accurate analysis is
Working area
6
needed to prevent the worker from hitting the ground before the fall is completely arrested. In
most applications, the single span HLLs are limited to about 100 feet in length and even then the
maximum dynamic deflection may be on the order of 20 feet.
The multi-span HLL system is designed based on the same general principles as used for
the single-span HLL system. Such a system has a lightly tensioned cable with its two extreme
ends fixed and running through and supported by several intermediate brackets. This enables a
longer extent of working area and a bent line route instead of just a straight line. The sliding
connector attaching the harnessed person via lanyards to the cable is often designed to freely
pass across the intermediate brackets, thus permitting the workers free movement over the whole
length of the cable. The advantage of the multi-span HLL is obvious. For example, a principle
advantage of the multi-span HLL, in comparison to multiple single-span HLLs, is that the
intermediate supports require far less strength than the end supports. Furthermore, at some
construction sites, efficiency can be observed by using only one multi-span HLL system to
protect workers working on more than one face of a building.
In calculation, the multi-span HLL system can be approximated as a single-span system
with lateral springs attached to the end anchorages, as shown in Fig. 1.2.5.
7

Mass
Intermediate brackets
End Anchor
End Anchor
(a) Before falling

(a) Before Fall
Fallen Mass
Intermediate brackets
End Anchor
End Anchor
(b) After falling

(b) After Fall
Anchor
Equivalent stiffness K
right

Equivalent stiffness K
left

(c) Theorized as a Single-Span System
Fig 1.2.5 Multi-Span HLL System Theorized as a Single-Span System
8
The H-shaped HLL system is rarely used due to having a relatively complex behavior.
This system is applicable to the situation where no anchorage point is feasible right above the
work site, for example, for a work area illustrated in Fig. 1.2.6. As shown, there are two side
cables attached to four anchorage points at four corners; the across cable is connected to the side
cables via sliding connectors; and the workers lanyard is connected to the across cable via a
sliding connector. The H-shaped HLL system provides a broader work area than the ordinary
HLL system; however, it costs much more to design and install.

Fig. 1.2.6 A Special Case Where Needs the H-shaped HLL System

To analyze the H-shaped HLL system, it can be approximated as a single span system
with special anchorage condition as shown in Fig 1.2.7. The stiffness of the equivalent springs
is not linear, however, and must be related to the force-displacement characteristics of the side
cables.
9

equivalent stiffness
K
left
Anchor Point
equivalent stiffness
K
right

Fig 1.2.7 H-shaped HLL System Theorized as a Single-Span System

In summary, the design of all HLL systems can be viewed as being based on the theory of
the single span HLL. In this paper, behavior of the single span HLL, with either one person or
two persons falling, is investigated.

1.3 Components of an HLL system
In general, an HLL system consists of all or some of the following components:
o Anchorages
o Tensioning device (not shown)
o Cable, or lifeline (wire rope, synthetic rope or a rigid rail)
o Energy absorbers (for the HLL and lanyard)
o Lanyard (fixed-length lanyard or SRL)
o Harness (full body)
o Connecting hardware (D-rings, turnbuckles and so forth)
10
Shock Absorber
Anchor Point
Cable
Anchor Point
Shock Absorber
Lanyard
Sliding Connector

Fig 1.3.1 HLL Components

The cable and the lanyard may be regarded as the main components of an HLL system.
There are other components, such as shock absorbers, harness, turnbuckle, D-ring, which are
used to ensure that the HLL system works safely. Some of these components are optional and
may add complexity to the design of the HLL.
Generally there are two types of lanyard, fixed-length lanyard and self-retracting lanyard
(SRL). For the fixed-length lanyard, the length should be specified to maintain a free fall
distance not exceeding 6 feet (OSHA 1910.66 Appendix C). The self-retracting lanyard (SRL) is
a device connecting the worker to the cable, which acts mechanically similar in effect to those
straps in automobile seat belts. The lanyard in a SRL can be pulled out and retracted back easily
to avoid a slack line. But it has a brake that is activated to self-lock when a sudden pull indicates
that a fall occurs. Most self-retracting lanyards are able to limit free fall distance to 2 feet or less.
For both kinds of lanyard, a minimum breaking strength of 5000 lbs is required when tested
statically. (OSHA 1910.66 Appendix C, ANSI A10.14 (4.3.4.1)).
11
If a falling worker is connected to an anchorage point with a simple rope, for different
free fall distances, the maximum arrest force (MAF) would vary substantially and may reach a
high amount to injury the worker. Therefore, to reduce the force applied to the falling worker,
the lanyard usually includes an energy-absorbing (or shock-absorbing) device. Both OSHA
1910.66 Appendix C and ANSI Z359.1(3.2.4.7) require that the MAFs of the dynamically tested
energy absorbers shall not exceed 900 lbs, otherwise a high abrupt impact force may cause injury
to the human body as well as possible damage to the fall arrest system (FAS). The available
shock absorbers for lanyards in the industrial practices have a threshold force of 650 lbs to 900
lbs depending on model selected, and have a maximum deployment capacity of up to 3.5ft.
Energy absorbers are also introduced for the horizontal lifeline to reduce the hazard of
abruptly breaking the cable due to some high tension. Usually the energy absorber built into the
horizontal lifeline has a higher threshold force, up to thousands of pounds, while it has a lower
deployment capacity, sometimes only a few inches, because of the unfavorable associated
increase in deflection.
There are several different kinds of energy absorbers. The tear webbing energy absorbers,
for example, comprises a continuous length of webbing stitched to form a loop. When a
sufficient force is applied, the stitching tears which limits the arresting force until all of the
stitching has been torn and the webbing extended into a single straight length. Although
experimental results show that the force during stitch tearing fluctuates near the nominal
threshold force, the force is approximated to be constant in design calculations.
The turnbuckle may be used as an anchorage connector as well as a tensioning device.
The turnbuckle, as any other component of a HLL system, must have sufficient strength to
ensure that a minimum factor of safety of 2 exists for the entire system.
12
As a device connecting the person to the lanyard, the body belt has been abandoned by
OSHA and ANSI for any personal fall arrest system. A full body harness that is proven to
distribute force more evenly to the human body is required to be worn by the person.
Multiple persons may work using one same HLL system protection; however ANSI
A10.14 (4.3.3.5) limits users to a maximum of two at one time between supports.

1.4 Design issues of HLL systems
To prevent any harmful consequence when and if a fall occurs, it has to been affirmed
that the fall protection system is properly anchored and will prevent the worker from hitting an
obstruction or lower level before the fall has been completely arrested. Therefore two primary
factors must be considered in designing a horizontal lifeline:
o The forces that are applied to the anchorages during a fall arrest situation must be known
to design or verify the strength of the anchorages.
o The deflection of the lifeline during a fall arrest situation must be known to ensure the
worker will not contact an obstruction or lower level.
The deflection and forces are closely related. They are a function of several factors which
are the configuration of the HLL system, which includes initial setup condition of the lifeline,
number and type of energy absorbers, anchorage stiffness, number of workers connected, etc., as
well as loading factors such as the weight of the falling persons and the free fall distances.
In this paper, the anchor force of the lifeline, whether rigid or flexible, is studied. The
flexibility due to anchor flexibility, multiple rope spans or other effects, is simulated by a lateral
spring at the anchorage with a stiffness denoted as Kc.

13
1.5 Objective
Although HLL systems have been in use for decades, the design of systems has generally
been based on simplified and, it is hoped, conservative, analysis methods. A simplified energy
balance analysis method is often used, but this is only to predict the maximum forces and
displacement for falls of single person. Special cases of falls of multiple persons can be
considered if one takes the restrictive assumption that all falls of the multiple persons are
precisely simultaneous so that the maximum downward deflections of all the falling persons
occur at the same time. From a realistic point of view, simultaneous falls are not only extremely
unlikely, but the results of the assumption may not represent the worst case scenario.
In this research, the numerical time-history integration is applied to the dynamic
equations of motion. Based on this method, two computer programs are written in C++ to
simulate the entire falling process for the single-person fall and for the two-person fall
respectively. A number of calibration analyses are conducted to verify the algorithm and
accuracy of the programs. The results are compared with results from the energy balance
method.
Using the generated computer programs, an extensive parametric analysis is conducted
on the configuration of the HLL system. Suggestions for design optimization are provided.

14
Chapter 2
RESEARCH BACKGROUND
Although fall arrest systems have been in use for forty years or more, initial published
work on such systems first began to appear since 1970s. Such work concentrated on two areas:
prediction of the mechanical response of the system and the response of human bodies to shock
load. The former work includes prediction of the maximum forces applied to a falling worker,
the maximum forces incurred in the HLL components, and the dynamic deflection of the
systems. The latter work mainly focuses on medical studies of the human body under the load,
economical cost analysis, etc.
For prediction of response of FAS system, Sulowski and Miura [4,5] developed equations
to determine the lanyard force and fall distance using the energy balance method. Prior to a fall,
the shape of the HLL between supports is cantenary and therefore the classical solution of cable
was applied. According to the conservation law of energy, the total energy prior to a fall, which
is the potential of the mass at a height, would equal the sum of kinetic energy and strain energy
and energy dissipated by energy absorbers, dampers and frictions. If there is no energy
dissipated, when the falling mass reaches the lowest point, it will reach zero velocity so then
there is no kinetic energy. The total potential of the system will transfer solely to strain energy of
the cable and lanyard. From equating energy before the fall to energy after the fall, the position
of mass at zero velocity and the maximum force are directly related variables and can be
determined.
The energy balance solution is acceptable when these assumptions are met: that the
lanyard and HLL have negligible mass, that the lanyard and HLL have linear elastic properties,
15
that no energy is lost to the support structures or friction or damping. Using the energy balance
method, the maximum forces and the lowest point of the fall are determined at the instant when
the falling person first reaches the lowest point in the first arrest sequence. The results are proven
to have relatively good agreement with experimental results.
However, because there is only one independent equation involved in the energy balance
method, there is only one independent unknown allowed for this method. As a matter of fact the
energy balance method is limited to solve the one-mass fall problem for the HLL system. In
order to address the multiple-mass fall problem with the energy balance method, an assumption
has been made that the worst load case of the problem is to have multiple persons fall
simultaneously in a HLL system. By assuming multiple persons fall at the same time, multiple
sets of independent unknowns are made identical and therefore solvable by the method. But does
the solution for the forces and displacements under this assumption represent the worse case
scenario? More research is needed to shed light on this issue.
Concerned with the limitation of the energy balance method, Drabble and Brookfield [10]
developed a numerical analysis technique for predicting the forces occurring in each component
of an FAS during a fall. The HLL was simulated as a series of lumped masses coupled by spring
elements. Two multi-span HLL systems were tested, one system with a single-dummy and one
with four dummies dropped in the tests. Experimental results were compared against the energy
balance method and other analytical results.
Much work of the medical research area is concerned with the maximum arrest force
(MAF). MAF must not exceed the force that would cause significant injury to the falling person.
Research was carried out to determine the tolerance of the human body to forces due to falls.
Synder, et al, [11] conducted a major statistical survey which strongly justified the use of FAS in
16
terms of the injuries to be incurred by unprotected falling persons. Hearon and Brinkley [12]
surveyed falls of workers wearing harness, human suspension tests and USAF tests on parachute
opening injuries and occupational falls. This research shows that forces as low as 2 kN (453 lbs)
and 3 kN (680 lbs) applied via a harness may cause some level of injuries. Orzech and Wilkerson
[13] conducted experiments to evaluate capabilities of the different fall protection harnesses. As
a result, one configuration of harness was recommended for improving body support by
distributing loads over the human bony structures. The importance of rapid rescue of fallen
workers is also concluded from these experiments. Additional works [14] are conducted to build
expert systems for fall accident analysis, fall protection analysis, and accident cost and scenario
analysis.


17
Chapter 3
METHODOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
3.1 Illustration of the problem
For a single-person HLL system as shown in Fig 3.1.1, the dynamic motion problem can
be theorized as a single-degree dynamic system with a nonlinear stiffness K, as shown in Fig
3.1.2. The equivalent stiffness K is a function of mass position y at any arbitrary point in time.
For example, during the time period of a persons free fall, stiffness K equals zero; after the
cable and lanyard become straight, K varies with respect to the persons downward
displacement. And after a certain point, when the shock absorber in the lanyard starts to deploy,
K equals zero once again. Therefore it is essential to find the function of the equivalent stiffness
K.
Shock Absorber
Shock Absorber
Mass

Fig 3.1.1 Single-Person HLL System Before and After fall
18


M
mg
y
K=f(y)
(a)
cy
M
mg
y
fs
m
(b)
.

(a) Equivalent Single-degree System; (b) Free-Body Diagram
Fig 3.1.2 Illustration of Models

To find the equivalent stiffness K is to find the system resisting force, fs, at a given
position y of mass M. It is important to note that the deployment of the energy of absorbers,
either in cable or in lanyard, is not recoverable, therefore the resisting force fs is route-
dependent, or time-dependent.
Resisting force fs equals the cable load as shown in Fig 3.1.3. Once fs reaches a certain
amount (EAVLLF), the energy absorber EAVLL in the lanyard begins to open. Therefore the
mass M undergoes a constant resisting force EAVLLF while it has further downward
displacement but there is no increment of sag of the cable. The mass position is related to sag
directly only when resisting force fs does not equal zero or EAVLLF. That is, cable and lanyard
are not slack, yet the internal force of the lanyard has not reached EAVLLF. For this case, to
solve the relationship between cable sag and applied load, an equilibrium analysis is employed.
Fig. 3.1.4 illustrates the forces in equilibrium.
19

fs
sag
x
EAHLL
EAVLL
y
Kc
Span

Fig 3.1.3 A Cable System with Energy Absorbers


Fig 3.1.4 Free Body Diagram of a Cable System
The equilibrium equations are:
(3.1.2)
) ( 5 . 0
(3.1.1)
x Span
sag
H V
x Kc H
! "
" #
" #

Cable tension is the resultant of the horizontal and vertical component:
(3.1.3)
2 2
V H T $ #
20
And the tension is related to the elastic elongation of the cable as:
(3.1.5)
) 4 ) ( (
(3.1.4)
2
) (
2
0
0
2 2
0
2
2
0
L
L sag x Span A E
L
L
A E
T
L sag
x Span
L L L
! $ ! " "
# %
"
#
! $ &
'
(
)
*
+ !
# ! # %

It is also seen that:
(3.1.6) 2V fs #
In the above equations:
1. E, A, L
0
, Span are known, either as cable properties or by the system setup
conditions. The value of sag is given for each step in a solution and then the
unknowns are x and fs.
2. After the tension of the cable T reaches EAHLLF, the activating force of
energy absorber EAHLL, energy absorber EAHLL begins to deploy until it
reachs the maximum deployment capacity or the deployment ceases because
motion is reversed.
3. Energy absorbers, EAHLL and EAVLL are not retractable, which means once
a pull-out happens, this part will not be retracted back. As a result, the pull-out
will be added to the length of cable or lanyard. Therefore, tracking and
recording of the change of lengths of cable and lanyard for each step is
necessary.
Substituting the expressions for H, V into Eqn. 3.1.3, there is only one independent equation Eqn
3.1.8 as seen below:
21
(3.1.7b)
) 4 ) ( (
(3.1.7a)
) ( 5 . 0
1
0
0
2 2
2
2 2
L
L sag x Span A E
T
x Span
sag
x Kc V H T
! $ ! " "
#
&
&
'
(
)
)
*
+
! "
$ " " # $ #

Therefore
(3.1.8)
) 4 ) ( (
) ( 5 . 0
1
0
0
2 2
2
L
L sag x Span A E
x Span
sag
x Kc
! $ ! " "
#
&
&
'
(
)
)
*
+
! "
$ " "
Eqn. 3.1.8 is a correlation function between x and sag. In other words, for any given
designated sag, there is a specific spring deformation x and vice visa. To solve the correlation
equation Eqn 3.1.8, the bisection method is used to find the solution of x for a given sag.
It can also be observed that for rigid anchorage, x, the deformation of the anchorage
spring equals zero. When x=0 substituted into Eqn. 3.1.7b, the tension force T can be obtained
instantly.


a
0
b
0
a
1
b
1
t
f(t
f(a
0)
f(b
0)

Fig 3.1.5 Bisection Method
22

The bisection method is a powerful and easy-to-use numerical method to find a single
root for a continuous function. The theoretical foundation of the bisection method is: so long as
the function f(t) whose root is sought is continuous, there must be at least one root between two
guesses, say a
0
and b
0
, that give results f(a
0
) and f(b
0
). The bisection method locates such a root
by repeatedly narrowing the distance between the two guesses.
At any point of the simulation, the average of the positive and negative guesses, which is
displayed in Fig 3.1.5 as the t-coordinate of the bisection point, will be an approximation to a
root of f(t). Typically, one considers the midpoint m
0
= ) (
2
1
0
0
b a $ , and evaluates f (m
0
). If f (m
0
)
< 0, one sets a
1
= m
0
and b
1
= b
0
. If f (m
0
) > 0, one sets a
1
= a
0
and b
1
= m
0
. (If f (m
0
)=0, the
process is already done.) The situation in the present case is that f (a
1
) and f (b
1
) have opposite
signs, but the length of the interval [a
1
, b
1
] is only half of the length of the original interval [a
0
,
b
0
]. Repeating the simulation steps as shown above, the more steps that the simulation performs,
the better the approximation will be.
Eqn 3.1.8 may be rewritten as:
(3.1.9) 0
) 4 ) ( (
) ( 5 . 0
1 f(x)
0
0
2 2
2
#
! $ ! " "
!
&
&
'
(
)
)
*
+
! "
$ " " #
L
L sag x Span A E
x Span
sag
x Kc

For the correlation function between x and sag (Eqn 3.1.9), the initial guesses of the x
can be set as zero and Span.
Once Eqn 3.1.9 is solved for x, x is substituted back into Eqn.3.1.1 to 3.1.5 to get support
reaction forces H, V, cable tension T, and the resisting force of the cable system, fs.
A flow chart to solve the resisting force of the cable system is shown in Fig 3.1.6.
23
START STEP i
GET MASS POSITION y(i)

FREE-FALL OR
EA2 ACTIVATED?
fs(i)=fs(i-1)
YES
EA1 ACTIVATED?
T=EAF1
SOLVE x, UPDATE L
0
SOLVE x
CORRESPONDENT Sag
CALCULATE fs(i)
YES
NO
NO

Fig 3.1.6 Flow Chart of Resisting Force Calculation

A sample solution of the resisting force of the cable system with respect to the person
position is shown in Fig. 3.1.7. The free fall distance (FFD) in this case is 6 feet.
24
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Person Fall Position (ft)
L
a
n
y
a
r
d

F
o
r
c
e
,

C
a
b
l
e

R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
t

F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)

Free Fall
EAHLL
Deploying
EAVLL
Deploying
Unloading

Fig 3.1.7 Resisting Force of an HLL system

3.2 Numerical analysis method
The numerical analysis required in this problem is to solve of the differential equations of
motion by arithmetic procedures. The one-mass fall problem in an HLL system can be viewed as
motion in a one-degree dynamic system. A one-degree system can be determined at any instant
by the single coordinate, as shown in Fig. 3.2.1, where the mass can move in a vertical direction
under the external force F(t).
25

M
F(t)
y
K
(a)
c!
M
F(t)
y
Ky
m
(b)

(a) Equivalent Single-degree System; (b) Free-Body Diagram
Fig 3.2.1 Models of Systems

Applying Newtons second law of motion, the equation of motion for a linear elastic
system can be written as
(3.2.1) ) (t F ky y c y M # $ $ ! ! !
Where ky is the elastic resisting force, y c! is the damping force, F(t) is the external force.
For a nonlinear system the equation of motion is
(3.2.2) ) ( ) , ( t F y y fs y c y M # $ $ ! ! ! !
Where ) , ( y y fs ! is the nonlinear resisting force at time t.
For an HLL system, the resisting force of the system is obviously geometrically
nonlinear even though the materials are in the elastic range. Furthermore, the excitation
force function is a constant value, which equals the weight of the person (including the
equipments the person carries).
(3.2.3) ) , ( Mg y y fs y c y M # $ $ ! ! ! !
26
The initial conditions are
(3.2.4) 0 0
0 0
# # y y !
For the one mass problem, resisting force fs=fs(y), which is solely determined by
the mass position y. For the two-mass problem, resisting force ) , ( y y fs ! for each mass is a
function of the velocities of both masses as well as of the positions of the masses.
The process of numerical integration is a procedure by which the differential
equation of motion is solved step by step, starting at zero time when the displacement and
velocity are presumably known. The time scale is divided into discrete intervals, and one
progresses by successively extrapolating the displacement from one time station to the
next. In this research, the lumped-impulse procedure (also known as constant-velocity
procedure) is adopted.
The lumped-impulse procedure is essentially a constant-acceleration method. It is
assumed that over the small interval of time, !t, the acceleration of the system is
constant. For the lumped-impulse method, instead of assuming acceleration (s) at the
beginning of the interval is constant throughout time station s to s+1, the acceleration is
assumed constant from mid-point of s-1 and s to the mid-point of s to s+1. It is
categorized as a time-stepping procedure based on assumed variation of acceleration.
Fig.3.2.2 illustrates the lumped-impulse method in comparison to the constant-
acceleration method with acceleration assumed at the start of the time step.
27
t
s- 1 s s+1
t
s- 1 s s+1
y
::
y
( a) ( b)

(a) Lumped-impulse Method (b) Constant-acceleration Method
Fig 3.2.2 Analytic Methods

To explain the process, one may suppose the displacement y
(s)
at time station s
and y
(s-1)
at the preceding time station s-1 had been previously determined. The
acceleration at time station s can then be determined using the equation of motion. The
problem is to determine the next displacement y
(s+1)
by extrapolation:
y
(s+1)
=y
(s)
+v
avg
!t (3.2.5)
where v
avg
is the average velocity between time station s and s+1, and !t is the time
interval between two stations.
The average velocity may be expressed by the following approximate formula:
(3.2.6) v
) (
1 ) (
avg
t y
t
y y
s
) (s s
% $
%
!
#
!
! !
where the first term is the average velocity in the time interval between s-1 and s, and the
second term is the increase in the velocity between the two time intervals, assuming that

(s)
is an average acceleration throughout that time period.
28
Substituting Eqn 3.2.6 into Eqn 3.2.5, the following recurrence formula is
obtained:
y
(s+1)
=2y
(s)
-y
(s-1)
+
(s)
(!t)
2
(3.2.7)
With this equation, one is able to extrapolate to find the displacement at the next
time station s+1 based on results at station s and s-1. From Eqn 3.2.3,
(s)
may be
determined since it depends upon the displacement and velocity at station s.
The recurrence formula given by equation Eqn 3.2.7 is obviously approximate,
but it gives sufficiently accurate results provided that the time interval !t is taken small
in relation to the variations in acceleration. In fact, as !t goes to zero, the solution
becomes exact.
Using the recurrence formula, one is able to simply begin at time zero and
proceed step by step to determine the displacements at time station selected. Since at t =
0, no value of y
(s-1)
is available, it is necessary to set up for the first two steps.
For this specific problem, when t=0,
y
(0)
=0 (3.2.8)
When t= !t, step 1:
y
(1)
=1/2 ( !t)
2
(3.2.9)
when the initial condition is free fall, = g.

29
3.3 Algorithm of computer simulation
3.3.1 One person fall problem
M
mg
y
K=f(y)
c!
M
mg
y
fs
m

Fig 3.3.1 One-Degree Dynamic System

As discussed in section 3.2, the mechanics of a single person fall HLL system can
be written as a single degree of freedom dynamic motion problem.
(3.3.1) ) , ( Mg y y fs y c y M # $ $ ! ! ! !
For each time step i, the displacement y (i), velocity y!
(i) and acceleration y! ! (i)
are known in a dynamic motion problem. As long as the resistant force fs(i) at each time
step is determined, the variables at step (i+1) can be obtained through numerical
integration. From section 3.1, it is known that during a fall the cable length and the
lanyard length are subject to change because of the built-in energy absorbers. Therefore
fs(i) is not only a function of the fall persons position, but also a function of past
deployment of the energy absorbers. In order to determine fs(i), it is necessary to
understand and define phases during a fall.
30
There are three essential variables, which are sag position, lanyard length and
velocities of the persons and at cable mid-span, in order to determine a phase during a
fall. The cables sag position, i.e. HLL deformation is not only to establish the resistant
force function, but also necessary to record the zero-force position to determine at which
time step when the mass starts or finishes free fall. Lanyard length, with the built-in
energy absorber (EAVLL), is a time-dependent variable; it will remain constant as long
as the EAVLL is not activated. Once the EAVLL is activated to deploy, lanyard length
equals the original length with addition of the EAVLL deployment. Lanyard length is a
variable used to determine when a free fall is started or terminated. When the person is in
free fall or the energy absorber EAVLL is deploying, velocity of cable is zero, i.e. the
shape of cable remains constant. Otherwise, the velocity at the mid-point of the cable
equals the velocity of the mass.
The mass starts to free-fall from an elevation with zero displacement and zero
velocity. The lanyard is initially slack between the mass and horizontal cable. When the
distance between the mass and the cables sag zero-force position is less than the lanyard
length, the mass is still in free fall, and the cable remains still at the zero force position.
When the distance between the mass and the cable reaches the lanyard length, the
mass finishes free fall. Since then, HLL cable follows the mass movement with the same
velocity as that of the mass. Since the cable sag has deviated away from the zero force
position, a resistant force is generated and applied in turn to the falling mass.
Once the force in the lanyard, i.e. the resistant force from the cable, reaches the
threshold force of the EAVLL, the energy absorber EAVLL is activated and begins to
deploy. As a result of a constant resistant force, the cable stays still at the position with
31
the velocity of the cable back to zero. The lanyard length is extended with the increment
of EAVLL deployment.
As the resistant force fs remains at FEAVLL, the velocity of the mass is gradually
slowed down to zero then the direction is changed to the opposite, i.e. the mass starts to
rebound up. With the upward movement of the mass, cable sag position can no longer
stay still so a rebounding also occurs on the cable sag. The dependent variable of the
cable sag, resistant force fs, is hence decreased. Since the feature of the energy absorber
is only to deploy at a force no less than FEAVLL, so the EAVLL ceases deployment
right at the rebounding. The extended length of the lanyard is therefore recorded for the
future need in order to identify the free fall position of the mass in the next bouncing
cycle.
It is summarized that the motion of the cable (HLL) in the one-mass problem is
determined by the mass displacement history, resistant force history, velocity of the mass
and velocity of motion at the cable mid-span.
The motion phases of the mass can be categorized into 3 stages. First one is
Free-Fall. Free Fall is the mass fall with a slack lanyard and zero resistant force fs(i).
This phase is defined for when the mass falls at the beginning and when mass rebounds
freely in the air after fall. The second phase is for when lanyard is tight with a force
which is larger than zero but less than energy absorber EAVLL deploying force. The
second phase is denoted as Lanyard-Straight in this paper. Lanyard-Straight includes
when the mass was just finished free fall as well as when the mass is rebounding while
the lanyard is not slack yet. The last phase is EAVLL Deploying, which is for when
EAVLL is in deployment. During EAVLL Deploying the lanyard has a constant
32
resistant force (EAVLLF) and the lanyard length is prolonged, however the cable sag
position will remain still and the mass is having a downward velocity.
It can also be observed that when a mass in phase of Free-Fall or EAVLL
Deploying, the motion of the mass does not affect the cables deformation during the
time step. In other words, in these phases, the mass moves as though the cable has zero
stiffness.

3.3.2 Two-mass fall problem
The first mass, denoted as mass A, starts with free-fall from an elevation with
zero displacement and velocity. The lanyard is initially slack between the mass and
horizontal cable.
Before the second mass, denoted as mass B, joins mass A in falling, mass As fall
is identical to one-mass problem. By using the above criteria, the phases of mass As fall
and correspondent cable deformation can be obtained.
At an arbitrary time point mass B starts to fall as free-fall from an elevation with
zero displacement and velocity. The elevation may differ from mass As original
elevation. The lanyard connecting mass B to the HLL is initially slack as well.
Mass B will keep free falling until the slack portion of lanyard length is run out.
The slack portion of the lanyard length of mass B may vary with respect of time, because
the cable may be in a movement along with mass A. As long as the mass B is in Free-
Fall, the HLL system is a one-mass fall problem. Hence at each time step, cable sag
position corresponds with the status of the fall of mass A. The distance between the mass
33
B and the cable sag position is monitored and used to determine when mass B finishes
free fall.
After mass B finishes free fall, there are a few possible situations.
If mass A is in Free-Fall, the cable will follow mass Bs motion. Therefore
mass A keeps free-falling, mass B changes status from Free-Fall to Lanyard-Straight.
The correspondent resistant force from cable deformation goes solely to the mass B.
If mass A is in the phase of Lanyard-Straight, the distribution of the resistant
forces between the two masses depends on the velocity of the masses. When mass B has
a downward velocity faster than the mass A, mass B will take the entire resistant force so
that mass A instantly loses the force from lanyard and become Free-Fall. Vice versa if
the mass Bs velocity is lower than the mass As, mass A will continue to have the entire
resistant force and mass B will be Free-Fall. If the two mass happen to have same
velocity, the resistant force from the cable deformation will be divided by two and each
of them will have one half force. However the chance for this happening can virtually be
ruled out.
If mass A is in EAVLL Deploying, i.e. the energy absorber (EAVLL) in
lanyard of mass A is deploying and therefore the cable sag is remaining still, the
distribution of the resistant forces between the two masses as well depends on the
velocity of the masses. If mass As velocity is higher, motion of mass A will keep being
EAVLL Deploying, the cable sag will follow the mass Bs velocity and increase the
deformation. With energy absorber EAVLL deploying, mass A will get the same resistant
force as the previous time step. The increment of the resistant force from the cable
increased deformation will go to mass B; as a result the status of motion of mass B will
34
change from Free-Fall into Lanyard-Straight. If mass As velocity is lower than mass
B, mass B will take over the resistant force and its EAVLL will be activated instantly,
provided that the same energy absorbers are installed for the two masses in this case.
The motion phase of mass B will change from Free-Fall to EAVLL Deploying. With
a deploying EAVLL, the lanyard of mass B is equivalent to zero stiffness contributing to
the cable. Since the mass A is still having downward velocity, the cable sag will follow
the mass As velocity and increase its deformation, the increment of the resistant force
then will go to mass A. Thus the status of the motion of mass A will change from
EAVLL Deploying into Lanyard-Straight.
During the fall, there are 6 cases for the two masses interacting with each other.
1) Both in Free-Fall
2) One in Free-Fall, one in Lanyard-Straight
3) One in Free-Fall, one in EAVLL Deploying
4) Both in Lanyard-Straight
5) One in Lanyard-Straight, one in EAVLL Deploying
6) Both in EAVLL Deploying

The first three cases have been discussed above. The fourth case with both masses
in Lanyard-Straight, the mass with the higher velocity will have all resistant force so
that the other mass will have zero resistant force and therefore change status to Free-
Fall. The cable sag moves following the mass with the higher velocity.
35
The fifth case is one in Lanyard-Straight, one in EAVLL Deploying. The
mass in EAVLL Deploying will have a known force of MAF; the other mass will take
the rest of the force. The cable sag will move following the mass in Lanyard-Straight.
The sixth case is both in EAVLL Deploying. Each of the masses will have a
resistant force of MAF. The cable sag will be still until one of the masses finishes
EAVLL Deploying with changing of the direction of its velocity. Once the direction of
velocity is changed to upward, the status of the mass changes from EAVLL Deploying
to Lanyard-Straight. Then as described in the fifth case, the cable sag will move
upward following the mass in Lanyard-Straight.

3.4 Errors involved in numerical integration of dynamic motions
problems of HLL system
The errors introduced into the numerical integration, because the procedure, in
fact, provides a solution of a finite difference approximation of the equation of motion
rather than of the original difference equation, are common to both linear and nonlinear
systems. These errors will not be eliminated but can be reduced by increasing the number
of time steps and using a small time interval.
For nonlinear systems, there are additional sources of errors. These additional
errors can be classified as those arising due to (1) use of tangent stiffness in place of
secant stiffness, and (2) delay in detecting the transitions in the force-displacement
relationship.
The errors due to the use of tangent stiffness can be minimized by using an
iteration process, where using a method of checking equilibrium condition after each new
36
step, then applying the residual force repetitively until convergence is achieved. This
iteration process is in fact the full Newton Raphson Method.
The errors involved in numerical integration during transitions in the force-
displacement relationship can be minimized by using a sub-increment of time to carry out
the integration during an interval in which a transition is detected.
The criteria for the selection of the time step used in integration for a linear
system are related to the natural period of the system. For the nonlinear HLL systems,
since the stiffness changes drastically, the criteria used for the linear systems are not
appropriate. Therefore, in the present research, the time step is chosen based on (1)
stability and convergence of the results and (2) comparison of numerical solution to the
other calculations which have been verified with previous solutions by others and with
experimental results.
The accuracy of the numerical integration process may be verified by performing
the response calculation with two different time steps that are close to each other. If the
response obtained with the shorter time step is not significantly different from that
obtained with the larger time step, the process may be taken to have converged to the true
solution.

3.5 Cable Setup Condition
For industrial application, it is common practice to erect the HLL with a target
sag ratio, the ratio of initial sag to cable span, as a control condition for the erection.
37

p
S
f
H
T
V
H
V T

Fig 3.5.1 Cable Subject to Uniformly Distributed Load

From the basic theory of cable mechanics (Scalzi, [15]), for the cables with
horizontal chord subject to uniformly distributed load p, and when both ends of the cable
are rigidly anchored, where sag ratio n=f/S:
(3.5.4) 16 1
8
(3.5.3)
8
(3.5.2)
2
1
(3.5.1) ...] n
5
32
- n
3
8
1 [
2
2
2 2
2
4 2
n
f
pS
H V T
f
pS
H
p V
S L
$ # $ #
#
#
$ $ #

At erection, the external load p is the self-weight of cable, w.

38
p
S-x
f
H
T
V
H
V T
x
Kc

Fig 3.5.2 Cable with Flexible Anchorages

If the cable is anchored with springs that represent the effect of flexibility of the
anchorage point, the bisection method may be used to solve for the length of the cable L
and the tension force T along the cable.

Fig 3.5.3 Equivalent Lumped Weight of Cable

The initial tension force T is due to the self-weight of cable. Using the value of T
in the cable and the initial setup condition, there is a concentrated equivalent force at
mid-span of the cable that causes the same tension force T and hence approximately the
same extension within the cable. Therefore the force is an equivalent lump weight of
Equivalent cable weight
w
T
T T
T
39
cable. The equivalent weight is a function of self-weight of cable w and set-up sag ratio
n. For the time-stepping method developed in this thesis, the equivalent weight is used to
approximate the set-up condition and simplify the procedure so that the effect of the
catenary shape of the cable can be neglected. This is justified in the present application
because the concentrated force due to a falling mass is far greater than the total cable
weight.

3.6 Assumptions of the Method
3.6.1 Damping effect neglected.
In fall-protection problems, the greatest interest is given to the maximum
displacement response and the maximum resisting force, which generally happen within
the first cycle of the vibration motion. Therefore damping effect is neglected for practical
and conservative reasons, while the margin of conservativeness is small. First, examining
the nature of the falling, the excitation of the dynamic motion is actually a rectangular
pulse with an extended period. According to the theory of dynamics, for pulse
excitations, the effect of damping on maximum response is usually not significant unless
the system is highly damped. Second, most structural engineering systems have a very
small damping ratio (usually estimated as 5% in structural calculations), especially in a
cable system. Third, during the first cycle of motion, the energy amount dissipated by
damping is very small in the limited time.

40
3.6.2 Infinite stiffness of lanyard
Since the stiffness of a lanyard is by far larger than that of the horizontal lifeline
(cable), in this research, the lanyard is assumed to have an infinite stiffness for
simplification in simulation. The omitted displacement of mass caused by the elongation
of lanyard is less than 0.1 inch, which is negligible in comparison to total fall distance.

3.6.3 Mid-span deformation of cable
Although the fall may happen when the person(s) is not necessarily right at or
even near the mid-span of the horizontal lifeline, it is assumed that after fall, the sliding
connector which connects the lanyard to the HLL, will slide the hanging person to the
mid-span of the cable. This has been confirmed by observation of experimental results.
From the equilibrium analysis as shown in Fig.3.6.1, the left-side HLL tension equals the
right-side HLL tension according to basic theory of cable mechanics. The resulting
lateral force is therefore always pointing to mid-span, which results in pushing the falling
mass to mid-span.
Accordingly, it is assumed that the lateral motion of mass due to the sliding from
the persons fall point to the mid-point of cable would not strongly affect the falling
motion, though the resulting offset leads to a swing motion in x direction.

41

mg
sag
x
EAHLL
EA2
Kc
Span


y
x
T
T
mg
"
1
"
2
T(-sin"
1
+sin"
2
)
mg-T(cos"
1
+cos"
2
)

Fig 3.6.1 Equilibrium Analysis at the Beginning of a Fall

It is also believed that to assume falls to occur near mid-span is conservative
overall. Experimental results showed that with a drop location closer to the end of the
span, generally the maximum anchorage loads (MAL) and total fall distance (TFD)
become smaller and shorter respectively. Concerns with safety requires interest in the
worst case scenario.

3.6.4 Some weight not collected
The weight of the energy absorbers, sliding connector and other small
miscellaneous masses are not taken in account.
42
The distributed weight of the cable is approximated as an equivalent lumped
weight at mid-span that introduces the same initial tension in the cable cross-section. This
simplification is reasonable so long as the falling mass is much larger than the mass of
the cable. Then the effect of the catenary shape of the cable can be neglected and it can
be assumed to be straight lines.
Equivalent cable weight

Fig 3.6.2 Cable Weight Approximation

3.6.5 No flutter effect of vibration considered
A possible flutter effect of cable and lanyard vibration due to a sudden impact is
common in the cable problem. The influence on the solution of maximum response is not
included here. The flutter effect would be significant to the predominant behavior only if
the concentrated force was small.
43
Chapter 4
PARAMETRIC STUDIES
4.1 Analytical result for a typical one-person fall
A stretched cable having a weight per unit length w = 0.46 lbs/ft, a span S = 60 ft and
initial sag ratio n = f/S = 0.1 in/ft was analyzed. The cables Youngs modulus is taken as E =
1.6E07 psi, and the effective area of cross-section A = 0.120 in
2
. The cable is assumed to be set
up between two cantilever columns for temporary use. The equivalent stiffness of two 7.5ft
W8x21 columns is Kc = 6.92 E3 lb/in. There are energy absorbers both for cable and for lanyard.
The threshold force for the energy absorber EAHLLF = 2000 lbs, and the extension capacity is
EAO1= 5 in. The threshold force for the energy absorber EAVLLF = 900 lbs, and the extension
capacity is EAO2= 5.0 ft. The weight of the falling person is M = 310 lbs, which is the
maximum allowable weight of workers by OSHA and ANSI standards for standard equipment.
The free fall distance is FFD = 6 ft, which is the maximum free fall distance permitted by OSHA
and ANSI.
Cable nominal span S = 60 ft
Cable initial sag (calibrated at set-up) f = 6 in
Cable initial length (zero tension) L0 = 59.9932 ft
Total weight of cable W0 = 27.600 lbs
Cable set-up tension due to self-weight T = 414.162
Equivalent lump weight at midspan W1 = 15.943 lbs

44
From erection condition of the cable, above are calculated using the method described in
Section 3.4.
Fig. 4.1.1 shows the time-history result of the displacement of the falling person and
position of the mid-span of the HLL. Fig. 4.1.2 shows the internal force of the lanyard and HLL.
Fig. 4.1.3 shows velocity the falling person and velocity of the motion at the HLL mid-span.
12.7856
12.0147
4.0949
3.5252
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (s)
D
i
s
p

(
f
t
)
Person Disp Cable Disp

Fig 4.1.1 Time-History of Displacements
45
414.2
71.7
2000.0
3384.9
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0
Time (s)
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)
P1 Lanyard Force
Cable Tension

Fig 4.1.2 Time-History of Forces
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (s)
V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
i
n
/
s
)
V (HLL) V (Person)

Fig 4.1.3 Time-History of Velocities
46
Summary of Analytical Result:


Results are compared as below with those of energy balance. Considering the energy
balance method usually omit the effect of the anchorage flexibility, a case with no anchorage
flexibility was studied.
Results
Energy Balance
Method
Time History
Method
Error
Maximum Tension of HLL 3492 lbs 3487.2 lbs 0.1%
Maximum sag of HLL 3.96 ft 3.975 ft 0.3%
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5 in 5 in 0.0%
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard 3.24 ft 3.297 ft 1.7%

As a further confirmation of the validity of the numerical analysis method and program,
the potential, kinetic and strain energies and work done in the energy absorbers are calculated at
each time step. Fig. 4.1.4 shows these quantities plotted with respect of time. The zero height
position is assigned to the end of free fall distance. In this case zero height position is 6 ft lower
than the person start point. The figure suggests that, although the individual components change
with time, the total energy, which is the sum of the potential, kinetic and strain energies and
Free Fall Distance 6 ft
Maximum Tension of HLL 3384.94 lbs
Total Fall Distance of the person 12.79 ft
Maximum sag of HLL 4.094 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5 in
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard 3.27 ft
47
work done, remains constant with negligibly small numerical error. Thus conservation of energy
is satisfied and the numerical analytical results are verified.
-30,000
-20,000
-10,000
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (seconds)
E
n
e
r
g
y

(
l
b
-
i
n
)
Gravitational
KE
EAVLL
EAHLL
HLL Strain
Anchorage Spring E

Fig 4.1.4 Time History of Energy and Work

48
4.2 Parametric analysis of one-person fall
To investigate the influence of parametric variation on the HLL system, the following
factors are studied. A comparison of results is made with respect to the case listed in section 4.1.

4.2.1 With or without energy absorber in HLL
Energy absorber EAHLL in HLL is not a necessary component of the system. The main
function of this energy absorber is to reduce the force in the HLL and thereby improve the safety
of anchorages and columns.
The erection conditions of the two compared cases are identical.
Cable nominal span S = 60 ft
Cable initial sag (calibrated at set-up) f = 6 in
Cable initial length (zero tension) L0 = 59.9932 ft
Total weight of cable W0 = 27.600 lbs
Cable set-up tension due to self-weight T = 414.162
Equivalent lump weight at midspan W1 = 15.943 lbs

From the comparison between results from the two methods, it is observed that the force
in the HLL is significantly larger when there is no HLL energy absorber. This could be
decreased by either choosing a shorter cable span or decreasing the initial cable tension (by
increasing the initial sag ratio at erection), or by the most effective way adding an HLL energy
absorber in the cable. From the comparison, it is observed that the HLL energy absorber
effectively reduces the force in cable but meanwhile increases the total fall distance and therefore
requires a clearance increment of 1.55 ft.
49
Comparison of the Analytical Results:
Results With EAHLL Without EAHLL
Maximum Tension in HLL 3384.94 lbs 5321.65 lbs
Maximum HLL Midspan Displacement (Sag) 4.095 ft 2.589 ft
Total Fall Distance of the Person 12.79 ft 11.24 ft
Final Deployment of Energy Absorber in HLL 5 in NA
Final Deployment of Energy Absorber in Lanyard 3.27 ft 3.23 ft
Maximum velocity after first cycle 54.13 in/sec 77.83 in/sec
Rebound distance 0.77 ft 1.86 ft

0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time(s)
D
i
s
p
.

(
f
t
)
Person Disp. With EAHLL
Person Disp. Without EAHLL
HLL Disp. Without EAHLL
HLL Disp. With EAHLL

Fig 4.2.1 Displacements Comparison
It also can be observed that there is no significant difference for the final deployment
length of the energy absorber in lanyard. However both kinetic energy and rebound distance of
50
the person in the second case are increased over 100%. As a result, the discomfort suffered by
the falling worker increases severely if the HLL energy absorber is not used.

4.2.2 Anchorage flexibility
As a matter of fact, anchorage stiffness in real sites usually varies significantly. For
example, the equivalent stiffness of two 7.5 ft W8x21 columns is Kc = 6.92 E3 lb/in; while for a
pair of cantilever columns with section of W10x19 and a height of 6.5ft, Kc = 1.082E4 lb/in, or,
if the columns are stanchions with braces at both ends, Kc = 8.653E4 lb/in.
For simplification, most energy balance methods omit the effect of flexibility of support
columns by assuming fixed-end anchorages, while the time-history method developed in this
research is competent in tracing the difference resulting from the variation of the anchorage
stiffness.
In order to study the effect of anchorage stiffness, three different sets are investigated
with Kc = 5,000 lb/in, Kc = 50,000 lb/in, and infinite stiffness, which represent anchoring to
flexible columns, stanchions, or permanent large columns or braced stanchions.
From comparison of the results, it can be observed that the effect of anchorage stiffness
does not play a significant role in the problem. However when using the energy balance method
with fixed-end anchorage assumption, the clearance calculation will be unconservative with an
error of several inches. On the other hand, the resultant maximum anchorage force found by the
energy balance method is conservative and acceptable.

Initial Condition of the HLL due to Erection:
Kc 5,000 lb/in 50,000 lb/in Infinite Kc
51
Cable Nominal Span S = 60 ft S = 60 ft S = 60 ft
Cable initial sag (calibrated at set-up) f = 6 in f = 6 in f = 6 in
Cable initial length (zero tension) L0 (ft) 59.9913 59.9913 59.9982
Cable set-up tension due to self-weight T (lbs) 414.135 414.221 414.229
Equivalent lump weight at midspan W1 (lbs) 15.9429 15.9429 15.9429

Comparison of Analytical Results:
Kc 5,000 lb/in 50,000 lb/in
Infinite Kc
Maximum Anchorage Loads (lbs) 3352.03lbs 3473.2 3487.18
Maximum HLL Displacement (ft) 4.13471 3.99138 3.97497
Total Fall Distance of the person (ft) 12.8187 12.7085 12.6974
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL (in) 5 in 5 in 5 in
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard (ft) 3.25607 3.29172 3.29727
Maximum velocity after first cycle (in/sec) 56.0924 48.8515 47.8624
Rebound distance (ft) 0. 8314 0.6214 0.5952



4.2.3 Span variation
The impact of different spans of the cable is studied: 30 ft, 60 ft, and 90 ft. All HLLs
have the same set-up condition, e.g., control sag ratio n as 0.1 in/ft and have energy-absorbers in
HLL and lanyard.
Initial Condition of the HLL due to Erection
52
Cable Nominal Span 30 ft 60 ft 90 ft
Initial set-up sag (in) 3.0 6.0 9.0
Cable initial length (zero tension) L0 (ft) 30.0023 59.9932 89.9875
Total weight of cable (lbs) 13.801 27.600 41.3942
Cable set-up tension due to self-weight T (lbs) 207.115 414.162 621.344
Equivalent lump weight at midspan W1 (lbs) 7.97135 15.9429 23.9132

Comparison of Analytical Results:
Cable Nominal Span 30 ft 60 ft 90 ft
Maximum Anchorage Loads (lbs) 2623.64 3384.94 4041.54
Maximum HLL Displacement (ft) 2.63658 4.095 5.1791
Total Fall Distance of the person (ft) 11.2636 12.79 13.8566
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL (in) 5 5 5
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard (ft) 2.91293 3.27 3.54124
Maximum velocity after first cycle (in/sec) 26.0869 54.1721 66.4651
Rebound distance (ft) 0.1734 0.7711 1.1724

It can be observed that long span in HLL problem is unfavorable because it increases the
anchorage force, clearance requirement, human bodys uncomfortable level greatly. In this case
the multi-span HLL system should be taken into design consideration.

4.2.4 Free fall distance
53
The free fall distance (FFD) is basically the length of the slack part of the lanyard, which
is determined by total length of the lanyard, the working deck elevation, elevation of the person
harness, elevation of sliding connector on the cable, and activation distance for energy absorber.
Therefore it may vary for different designs, different work sites and different workers, from the
maximum free fall distance that is limited to 6 ft by OSHA and ANSI, to less than 2 ft for some
self-retracting lanyards.
3 different cases are investigated with a free fall distance (FFD) of 2ft, 4ft and 6ft with
same initial HLL set-up conditions. Fixed anchorage and built-in energy-absorbers in HLL and
lanyard are assumed.
Initial Condition of the HLL due to Erection
Free Fall Distance 2 ft 4ft 6 ft
Cable Nominal Span S = 60 ft S = 60 ft S = 60 ft
Cable initial sag (calibrated at set-up) f = 6 in f = 6 in f = 6 in

The comparison shows below that the free fall distance directly affect the clearance
requirement of a work site. Therefore at a work site with a limited fall clearance, the self-
retracting lanyard is highly preferred over the conventional HLL systems.
Comparison of Analytical Results
Free Fall Distance 2 ft 4ft 6 ft
Maximum Anchorage Loads (lbs) 3488.70 3487.85 3487.18
Maximum HLL Displacement (ft) 3.97342 3.97558 3.97497
Total Fall Distance of the person (ft) 6.59324 9.64455 12.6974
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard (ft) 1.19504 2.24333 3.29727
54
Maximum velocity after first cycle (in/sec) 47.8833 47.916 47.8624
Rebound distance (ft) 0.5966 0.5970 0.5952


4.2.5 Falling persons weight
It has been long established in the drop tests for HLL systems to use 220 lbs (100kg)
dummies, however in OSHA and ANSI standards the upper limit of the workers weight is 310
lbs (140kg). The 220 lbs test weight has been established by some empirical results that the
human body in harness, with the fleshiness and springiness, is able to absorb impact energy up to
40%.
Further research is needed to verify the ability of a human body to absorb impact energy.
Furthermore every individual worker weight varies. To study the influence of the falling persons
weight, 3 cases with same initial set-up condition are calculated with weight varying from 220
lbs, 265 lbs to 310 lbs.

Initial Condition of the HLL due to Erection
Falling person weight (lbs) 220 265 310
Cable Nominal Span S = 60 ft S = 60 ft S = 60 ft
Cable initial sag (calibrated at set-up) f = 6 in f = 6 in f = 6 in

Comparison of Analytical Results (with EAHLL, fixed anchorages):
Falling person weight (lbs) 220 265 310
Maximum Anchorage Loads (lbs) 3487.31 3488.13 3487.18
55
Maximum HLL Displacement (ft) 3.97532 3.9734 3.97497
Total Fall Distance of the person (ft) 11.0172 11.7973 12.6974
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard (ft) 1.6163 2.39826 3.29727
Maximum velocity after first cycle (in/sec) 65.8099 55.8625 47.8624
Rebound distance (ft) 0.8395 0. 6971 0.5952

It has been argued recently that if it is reasonable to use dummies of 220 lbs (100kg) in
tests to represent harnessed workers of maximum weight of 310 lbs. Since analysis has shown
here that although the weight varies only 40% from 220 lbs to 310 lbs, the deployment of energy
absorber increases by 104%, which implies that a drastic increase of clearance is involved.
It can also be observed that for a relatively lighter worker, the phenomenon of
rebounding is severe; hence the degree of discomfort is increased. As an extreme case, a falling
with the worker weighs at 130 lbs is examined. As a results, it is found that the energy absorber
in lanyard has barely deployed with a merely 0.329587ft, while the rebounding distance up to
1.42118ft, maximum velocity up to 97.4581 in/sec. Though the fall arrest system still protects
the worker to a force within 900 lbs, it is not as effective to stabilize and stop the fall as for the
heavier workers. Hence an interesting question has emerged: Does the ANSI standard need to
request for a minimum weight of a worker?

4.2.6 Energy Absorber Threshold Force
For industrial common practice, there are two energy absorbers in terms of the threshold
force with 750 lbs and 900 lbs respectively. When a typical HLL system with a nominal span S =
60 ft and initial sag ratio n = f/S = 0.1 in/ft was analyzed, supported by two 7.5ft W8x21
56
columns (Kc = 6.92 E3 lb/in), it has been found in Section 4.2.1 that without energy absorber in
cable (EAHLL), the maximum anchorage force increases to 5321.65 lbs. Under this
circumstance, a 750 lbs energy absorber in lanyard could be a choice to solve the conflict. By
increasing the deployment of the energy absorber by 39.3%, the maximum anchorage force is
controlled within the legal limit.
Despite the increased clearance requirement, 750 lbs energy absorbers are recommended
to be used for circumstances where there are smaller free fall distances or lighter-weighted
workers involved.
Initial Condition of the HLL due to Erection
Energy Absorber Threshold Force (MAF) 900 lbs 750 lbs
Cable Nominal Span S = 60 ft S = 60 ft
Cable initial sag (calibrated at set-up) f = 6 in f = 6 in
Energy Absorber in HLL NA NA


Comparison of Analytical Results (without EAHLL):
Energy Absorber Threshold Force (MAF) 900 lbs 750 lbs
Maximum Anchorage Loads (lbs) 5321.65 4729.48
Maximum HLL Displacement (ft) 2.589 2.436
Total Fall Distance of the person (ft) 11.24 12.37
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard (ft) 3.23 4.51
Maximum velocity after first cycle (in/sec) 77.83 60.90
Rebound distance (ft) 1.86 1.42

57
4.3 Analytical result for a special case of two-person fall
In order to compare with the results from the energy balance method, a special case of
two persons fall is studied. In this case the two persons fall simultaneously with the same free
fall distance and reach the lowest point at the same time.
Mass2
Shock Absorber EAHLL
Shock Absorber
EAVLL1, EAVLL2
Mass1 Mass2
Shock Absorber EAHLL
Shock Absorber
EAVLL1, EAVLL2
Mass1

Fig 4.3.1 Two-Person HLL System Before and After fall

A similar setup condition for the HLL system is used as in Chap.3.1, except there are two
masses connected to the HLL. The horizontal cable has a weight per unit length w = 0.46 lbs/ft,
with a span S = 60 ft and set-up sag ratio n = f/S = 0.1 in/ft. The Youngs modulus of cable E =
1.6E07 psi and effective area A = 0.120 in
2
. The cable is set up between two cantilever columns
for temporary use. The equivalent lateral stiffness of the two 7.5ft W8x21 columns Kc = 6.92 E3
lb/in. There are energy absorbers EAHLL for cable and EAVLL for each of the lanyard
connecting person to the cable. The threshold force for the energy absorber built in the cable
EAFHLL = 2000.0 lbs, the extension capacity is 5.0 in. The threshold forces for the energy
58
absorbers built in both lanyards (EAFVLL) are 900.0 lbs with the extension capacity 5.0 ft. The
weight of the falling persons are identical, M1 = M2 = 310 lbs. 310 lbs is the maximum
allowable weight of the worker by OSHA and ANSI standard. The free fall distances for both
persons are (FFD) 6 ft, which is the maximum free fall distance allowed by OSHA and ANSI.
From erection condition of the cable, the following are calculated using the method
provided in Section 3.4.
Cable initial length (zero tension) L
0
= 59.9932 ft
Total weight of cable W
0
= 27.600 lbs
Cable set-up tension due to self-weight T = 414.162
Equivalent lump weight at mid-span W
1
= 15.943 lbs

Fig. 4.3.2 shows the time-history result of displacement of the falling person and the mid-
span of the HLL. Fig. 4.3.3 shows the internal force of the lanyards and HLL. Fig. 4.3.4 shows
the velocity of the falling persons.

59
3.5247
4.5055
13.8182
12.5419
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (s)
D
i
s
p

(
f
t
)
Cable Disp
Person1 Disp
Person2 Disp
Fig
4.3.2 Time-History of Displacements
900.1
414.2
72.2
2000.0
6107.1
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (s)
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)
P1 Lanyard Force
P2 Lanyard Force
Cable tension

60
Fig 4.3.3 Time-History of Forces
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0
Time (s)
V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
i
n
/
s
)
V (HLL)
V - Person1
V - Person2

Fig 4.3.4 Time-History of Velocities

Summary of Analytical Result
Free Fall Distance 6 ft
Maximum Tension of HLL 6107.7 lbs
Maximum Fall Distance of the person 13.82 ft
Maximum sag of HLL 4.51 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5 in
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard 3.89 ft

61
Results are compared as below with those of energy balance. Considering the energy
balance method usually omit the effect of the anchorage flexibility, a case with no anchorage
flexibility was studied.
Results
Energy Balance
Method
Time History
Method
Error
Maximum Tension of HLL 6402 lbs 6389.9 lbs 0.2%
Maximum sag of HLL 4.29 ft 4.307 ft 0.3%
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5 in 5 in 0.0%
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Lanyard 3.90 ft 3.914ft .3%

Fig 4.3.5 Time History of Energy and Work

-40,000
-30,000
-20,000
-10,000
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (seconds)
E
n
e
r
g
y

(
l
b
-
i
n
)
Potential p1
EAVLL1
Kinetic p1
HLL strain E
EAHLL
Potential p2
Kinetic p2
EAVLL2
Anchorage Spring E
62
Since the numerical analysis method idealize the HLL system as a closed system by
neglecting the energy worn by damping and air friction, at each time step the law of energy
conservation shall be satisfied as well. By verifying the energy conservation, the accuracy of the
program is established.
ET = EP + EK

ET: Total mechanical energy
EK: Kinetic energy
EP: Potential energy, the energy stored as the result of the position of an object.
General potential energy EP includes gravitational potential energy and elastic potential
energy. Strain energy is one type of elastic potential energy. Anchorage spring energy is elastic
potential energy.
For the system of the HLL and the attached persons, total energy are in forms of
gravitational potential of person 1, gravitational potential of person 2, kinetic energy of person 1,
kinetic energy of person 2, elastic potential energy of anchorage spring, energy absorbed by the
Energy Absorbers (EA) in each lanyard and cable, strain energy of the cable. Since the lanyards
are assumed non-extensible, the lanyards do not store or absorb any energy. The above
components of energy are calculated at each time step.
Fig. 4.3.5 shows the energy components plotted with respect of time. Zero height position
is assigned to the end of free fall distance. In this case zero height position is 6 ft lower than the
person start point. Table 4.3.1 lists the numerical results at some typical time steps. It can be
seen that, although the individual energy components vary with time, the total energy, which is
the sum of the quantity of the components, is a constant value with some negligible numerical
63
error less than 1.5%. Thus conservation of energy is satisfied and the numerical analytical results
are verified.
EP
grav,1
= m
1
gh
1

EP
grav,2
= m
2
gh
2

EK
1
= 0.5m
1
v
1
2

EK2 = 0.5m
2
v
2
2

E
strain
= 0.5T!L = 0.5T * (TL/EA) for cable
E
spring
= 0.5 P!L = 0.5 k * (!L)
2
for anchorage spring
E
EA
= (Threshold Force) * (Deployment) for Energy Absorbers
64
Time
(sec)
EP
grav,1
(lb.in)
EK
1
(lb.in)
E
EAVLL1
(lb.in)
E
strain
(lb.in)
EAHLL
(lb.in)
EP
grav,2
(lb.in)
EK
2
(lb.in)
E
EAVLL2
(lb.in)
E
spring
(lb.in)
Sum
(lb.in)
0.0 22320.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 22320.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 44640.0
0.1 21721.1 600.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 21721.1 600.1 0.0 0.0 44642.4
0.2 19924.3 2398.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 19924.3 2398.1 0.0 0.0 44644.8
0.3 16929.7 5393.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 16929.7 5393.9 0.0 0.0 44647.2
0.4 12737.3 9587.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 12737.3 9587.5 0.0 0.0 44649.6
0.5 7347.0 14979.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 7347.0 14979.0 0.0 0.0 44652.0
0.6 758.9 21568.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 758.9 21568.3 0.0 0.0 44654.4
0.7 -6953.7 27529.8 0.0 717.8 2857.7 -6953.7 27529.8 0.0 287.1 45014.7
0.8 -15200.5 26385.8 1679.6 6960.1 9975.1 -15200.5 26385.8 1679.6 2635.2 45300.3
0.9 -22013.3 13421.4 21458.6 6960.1 9975.1 -22013.3 13421.4 21458.6 2635.2 45303.8
1.0 -26545.8 4797.5 34617.6 6960.1 9975.1 -26545.8 4797.5 34617.6 2635.2 45309.0
1.1 -28798.2 514.3 41156.7 6960.1 9975.1 -28798.2 514.3 41156.7 2635.2 45316.0
1.2 -28778.4 511.7 41943.0 5792.2 9975.1 -28778.4 511.7 41943.0 2196.8 45316.7
1.3 -26999.4 1895.7 41943.0 1151.9 9975.1 -26999.4 1895.7 41943.0 448.5 45254.0
1.4 -25132.6 795.4 41943.0 -31.2 9997.3 -25132.6 795.4 41943.0 0.4 45178.1
1.5 -24349.9 13.9 41943.0 -31.2 9997.3 -24349.9 13.9 41943.0 0.4 45180.4
1.6 -24765.1 430.3 41943.0 -31.2 9997.3 -24765.1 430.3 41943.0 0.4 45182.8
1.7 -26353.0 1764.1 41943.0 369.7 9997.3 -26353.0 1764.1 41943.0 152.5 45227.6
1.8 -28360.9 1109.0 41943.0 4287.4 9997.3 -28360.9 1109.0 41943.0 1631.0 45298.0
1.9 -29048.4 67.0 41951.1 6806.7 9997.3 -29048.4 67.0 41951.1 2577.6 45321.0
2.0 -27715.7 1679.1 41951.1 2499.4 9997.3 -27715.7 1679.1 41951.1 957.4 45283.3

65

4.4 Parametric analysis of two-person fall
It is important to study how the assumption of simultaneous fall in Energy
Balance method affects the result of two-person fall cases. Hereby a couple of two-mass
falls with different time lapse are studied.

4.4.1 Two masses fall with 0.2 second time difference
Though from the initial condition the two persons start to fall at a same height,
because the second person starts at 0.2 second later, the free fall distances (FFD) for the
two persons are different. When the second person falls, the cable position has been
pulled away from the zero force position. Hence the cable is to arrest the second person at
a lower position, i.e., the second person experiences more free fall distance (FFD) than
that of the first person.
Summary of Analytical Result
First Person Free Fall Distance (FFD) 6.0 ft
Second Person Free Fall Distance (FFD) 9.55 ft
Maximum Tension of HLL 6102.7 lbs
Maximum HLL Sag 4.51 ft
Maximum Fall Distance of Person 1 13.1 ft
Maximum Fall Distance of Person 2 14.5 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5.0 in
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Person 1 Lanyard 3.2 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Person 2 Lanyard 5.0 ft
66
4.51
13.1
14.5
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (s)
D
i
s
p

(
f
t
)
Cable Disp
Person1 Disp
Person2 Disp

Fig 4.4.1 Time-History of Displacements
6102.7
414.2
2789.7
2000.0
3384.9
-1000
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0
Time (s)
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)

-

P
e
r
s
o
n

2
P1 Lanyard Force
Cable Tension
P2 Lanyard Force

Fig 4.4.2 Time-History of Forces
67
Fig 4.4.3 Time-History of Velocities
-40,000
-30,000
-20,000
-10,000
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Time (seconds)
E
n
e
r
g
y

(
l
b
-
i
n
)
Potential p1
EAVLL1
Kinetic p1
HLL strain E
EAHLL
Potential p2
Kinetic p2
EAVLL2
Anchorage Spring E

Fig 4.4.4 Time History of Energy and Work
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0
Time (s)
V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
i
n
/
s
)
V (HLL)
V - Person1
V - Person2
68
4.4.2 Two masses fall with 0.4 second time difference
As stated in previous example, because the second person starts later, the cable
position is away from the zero force position when it arrests the second person; as a result
the second person has more free fall distance (FFD) than the first persons.
Summary of Analytical Result
First Person Free Fall Distance (FFD) 6.0 ft
Second Person Free Fall Distance (FFD) 9.4 ft
Maximum Tension of HLL 6105.2 lbs
Maximum HLL Sag 4.51 ft
Maximum Fall Distance of Person 1 13.2 ft
Maximum Fall Distance of Person 2 14.4 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5.0 in
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Person 1 Lanyard 3.3 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Person 2 Lanyard 4.6 ft

69
4.09
4.51
13.2
14.4
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 0.4 0.8 1.2 1.6 2 2.4
Time (s)
D
i
s
p

(
f
t
)
Cable Disp
Person1 Disp
Person2 Disp

Fig 4.4.5 Time-History of Displacements
3384.9
414.2
6020.0
2000.0
3384.9
-1000
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4
Time (s)
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)

-

P
e
r
s
o
n

2
Force1
Cable Tension
Force2

Fig 4.4.6 Time-History of Forces
70
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4
Time (s)
V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
i
n
/
s
)
V (HLL)
V - Person1
V - Person2

Fig 4.4.7 Time-History of Velocities
-40,000
-30,000
-20,000
-10,000
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 2.2 2.4
Time (seconds)
E
n
e
r
g
y

(
l
b
-
i
n
)
Potential p1
EAVLL1
Kinetic p1
HLL strain E
EAHLL
Potential p2
Kinetic p2
EAVLL2
Anchorage Spring E

Fig 4.4.8 Time History of Energy and Work
71
4.4.3 Two masses fall with 0.6 second time difference
When the second person starts to fall after 0.6 second elapses, the first person has
finished his/her first cycle of bouncing and the cable has been back to the zero force
position. Because of the deployment of the EAHLL in cable, the zero force position of
the cable is lower than initial condition. In this case, the second person still has more free
fall distance (FFD) than the first persons.


Summary of Analytical Result
First Person Free Fall Distance (FFD) 6.0 ft
Second Person Free Fall Distance (FFD) 9.0 ft
Maximum Tension of HLL 6103.1 lbs
Maximum HLL Sag 4.51 ft
Maximum Fall Distance of Person 1 13.5 ft
Maximum Fall Distance of Person 2 14.2 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in HLL 5.0 in
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Person 1 Lanyard 3.5 ft
Final Pull of Energy Absorber in Person 2 Lanyard 4.2 ft

72
4.09
4.51
12.78
13.47
14.16
14.5
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 0.4 0.8 1.2 1.6 2 2.4
Time (s)
D
i
s
p

(
f
t
)
Cable Disp
Person1 Disp
Person2 Disp
Fig 4.4.9 Time-History of Displacements
6103.1
414.2
3385.7
2000.0
3384.9
-1000
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
0.0 0.4 0.8 1.2 1.6 2.0 2.4
Time (s)
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
F
o
r
c
e

(
l
b
)

-

P
e
r
s
o
n

2
P1 Lanyard Force
Cable Tension
P2 Lanyard Force

Fig 4.4.10 Time-History of Forces
73
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4
Time (s)
V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y

(
i
n
/
s
)
V (HLL)
V - Person1
V - Person2

Fig 4.4.11 Time-History of Velocities
-40,000
-30,000
-20,000
-10,000
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 2.2 2.4
Time (seconds)
E
n
e
r
g
y

(
l
b
-
i
n
)
Potential p1
EAVLL1
Kinetic p1
HLL strain E
EAHLL
Potential p2
Kinetic p2
EAVLL2
Anchorage Spring E

Fig 4.4.12 Time History of Energy and Work
74
4.4.4 Discussion
One of the primary factors must be considered in designing a horizontal lifeline is
the deflection of the fall person. During a fall arrest situation enough clearance has to
provide to ensure the worker will not contact an obstruction or lower level. From the
comparison of above cases, it can be seen that the maximum deflection of the fall person
can reach 14.5ft. If use energy balance method, where the simultaneous fall assumption
has to apply, the maximum deflection is only 13.82 ft and results in an unconservative
solution for design.

75
Chapter 5
CONCLUSION
5.1 Effect of energy absorber in HLL
When there is no HLL energy absorber, the force in HLL is significantly larger. This
could be decreased by either choosing a shorter cable span or decreasing the initial cable
tension by increasing the initial sag ratio at erection, or by the most effective way adding an
HLL energy absorber in the cable. From the comparison, it is observed that the HLL energy
absorber effectively reduces the force in the cable but meanwhile increases the persons
displacement and therefore requires a clearance increment of 1.55 ft.

5.2 Effect of Anchorage flexibility
The effect of anchorage stiffness does not play a significant role in the HLL problem.
However when using the energy balance method with fixed-end anchorage assumption, the
clearance calculation will be unconservative with an error of a few inches. On the other hand
the resultant maximum anchorage force is conservative and acceptable.

5.3 Effect of Span

It can be observed that long span HLLs are unfavorable because of increased
anchorage force, clearance requirement, and the human bodys discomfortable level greatly.
In this case, the multi-span HLL system should be taken into design consideration.

5.4 Effect of free fall distance
76
Parametric study shows that the free fall distance directly affects the clearance
requirement of a work site. Therefore at a work site with a limited fall clearance, the self-
retracting lanyard is highly preferred over the conventional HLL systems.

5.5 Effect of Falling Persons Weight
For a relatively lighter worker, the phenomenon of rebounding is severe; hence the
degree of discomfort is increased. As an extreme case, a falling with the worker weighs at
130 lbs is examined. As a result, it is found that the energy absorber in lanyard has barely
deployed with merely 0.329587ft, while the rebounding distance is up to 1.42118ft, and
maximum velocity goes up to 97.4581 in/sec. Though the fall arrest system still protects the
worker to a force within 900 lbs, it is not as effective to stabilize and stop the fall as for the
heavier workers. Hence an interesting question has emerged: Does ANSI standard need to
provide a limit for the minimum weight of a worker?

5.6 Effect of Energy Absorber Threshold Force
Low threshold force energy absorbers are recommended to be used for circumstances
where there are smaller free fall distances or lighter-weighted workers involved.
5.7 Error and Limits involved in energy balance method
There are two primary factors must be considered in designing a horizontal lifeline.
The first factor is the forces that are applied to the anchorages during a fall arrest situation.
The second is the maximum deflection of the fall person to ensure during a fall arrest
situation enough clearance is provided that the worker will not contact an obstruction or
lower level. From the parametric analysis, it can be seen that the energy balance method is
77
adequate for one-mass HLL system. But for the two-mass HLL system, the energy balance
method results in an unconservative solution in the prediction of the maximum deflection of
the fall person.

78
References
1. Ellis, J. N., Introduction to Fall Protection, 2nd Edition, American Society of Safety
Engineers, Des Plaines, IL, 1994.
2. The Business Roundtable. Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness. Report A3. The
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3. Sulowski, Andrew C.; Brinkley, James W. Measurement of maximum arrest force in
performance tests of fall protection equipment, Journal of Testing & Evaluation. v. 18 issue
2, 1990, p. 123-127.
4. Sulowski, Andrew C., Assessment of Maximum Arrest Force, National Safety News. v.
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5. Miura, M.; Sulowski, A. C., Introduction to horizontal lifelines. In Fundamentals of Fall
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7. American national Standard Institute, ANSI Standards, Z359.1-1992 Requirements for
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13. Orzech, Mary A.; Wilkerson, Terri L.; Evaluation of full body harnesses during
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th
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