Understanding ANSI Z359.14-2021: Updated Self-Retracting Devices Standard

This whitepaper contains information surrounding the updated ANSI Z359.14-2021 self-retracting devices (SRD) standard, which goes into effect on August 1, 2023. The information contained in this document is derived from Wesco’s review and interpretation and is not intended to be a substitute for reading the official ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 document in its entirety. As your partner in safety, our aim is to provide timely guidance to help keep your business compliant and your people safe.

ANSI Z359.14-2021 Changes at a Glance

ANSI approved the changes to Z359.14 on June 17, 2021, and the revised standard goes into effect on August 1, 2023.

  • Simplification of SRD types and classes 
  • Standardization of labels and markings 
  • Enhanced product testing requirements
  • Standardization of overhead performance

Why Has This Standard Been Revised? 

  • Simplification of SRD types and classes, along with standardization of labels and markings, will help users quickly identify compliant product. 
  • Enhanced product testing with specific focus on addressing issues that led to previous product recall will improve overall safety and device capabilities.

Types and Classes: Comparing Z359.14 and ANSI Z359.14-2021

Faster, Easier Identification: New Labeling Requirements

In addition to requiring the Class 1 and Class 2 standard labels, ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 also requires that all Class 2 SRLs must include a full fall clearance table or diagram as part of the physical product and the user instruction manual. This provides critical clearance information directly on the product, where it is most easily accessible by the end user or Competent Person at the place and time of use.

What is the Compliance Deadline for SRDs Currently in Use?

ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021 goes into effect on August 1, 2023. After this date, organizations that mandate ANSI compliance will require that all SRDs be manufactured and labelled as compliant with Z359.14-2021, and any SRDs marked as compliant with any previous revision will be considered out of compliance. SRL products manufactured to the previous revisions of ANSI Z359.14 can continue to be purchased and used as originally intended after the effectivity date of August 1, 2023 so long as it was manufactured prior to said effectivity date.

The requirements of this revised standard supersede any corresponding requirements in ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2014, ANSI/ASSP Z359.1, ANSI/ASSP Z359.3, and ANSI/ASSP Z359.4 American National Standards.

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

Class 1 SRD – For use with anchorages AT or ABOVE the dorsal D-ring. Maximum allowable freefall not to exceed 2 feet.

Class 2 SRD – For use with anchorages ABOVE or BELOW the dorsal D-ring. Maximum allowable freefall not to exceed 6 feet (1.8m).

Class Designation Icons. Previous Revision: 2014 revision designated Class A and B devices. Source: 3M 

Understanding Leading Edge Clearance Requirements

Class 2 Integral Clearance Chart Example - Read Instructions for Complete Details

Class 2 Illustration of Axes Example

The Evolution of Z359


May 1992 - ANSI Z359.1 first provided performance guidance on fall protection equipment. This document included language on self-retracting devices.

ANSI Z359.1 was reaffirmed in 1999.


January 2012 - ANSI Z359.14 was published defining the "Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices," with an effective date of August 20, 2012.

Leading edge and Class A and B devices were first established.


September 17, 2014 - ANSI Z359.14-2012 was revised and published in February 2015 defining the "Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices" under ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2014.

Additional information regarding leading edge devices was included.



June 17, 2021 - A revision of ANSI/ASSP Z359.14 was published defining the Safety Requirements for "Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices" with an effective date of August 01, 2022 for manufacturers to comply.

The latest revision, ANSI/ASSP Z359.14-2021, goes into effect for users on August 1,2023.

More on New Testing Requirements and Other Changes in This Revision

New: ANSI/ASSP Z359.14 test mass has increased to 310 pounds (140kg). Previous revision: 282 pounds (128kg). 

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

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

Updated: Static strength test - All SRDs must be capable of withstanding a 3,600 pound (16kN) static load for one minute with the lifeline constituent fully extracted.  

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

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

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

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

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