Thursday, August 8, 2013

If It's Not Breakaway, Don't Wear It

I spent the day out at a local music festival with my house band from work and was given yet another laminate pass to add to my collection. This one, like the vast majority of the other ones hanging up in my shop was on a lanyard that didn't have a breakaway feature.

People who work in healthcare are used to seeing these. When you handle patients for a living you don't want one of them to be able to get a hold of your name tag and strangle you with it. On purpose or by accident it's unpleasant and dangerous. It's just as dangerous to be walking around back stage where there are a million things for a lanyard to catch on. They're not as common or as cheap as a regular solid lanyard but that little piece of plastic could save your life.

It can be a little clip or some other form of release that will just simply give up if about more than five pounds of force is applied to it. That can be the difference between picking up your lanyard and rubbing the rope burn on your neck and gasping for air while you dangle from a railing. Simply put: If it ain't breakaway... don't wear it!
If the event you're working for is run by a bunch of cheapskates that don't care about your safety here's a couple ways you can be a little safer without raising a ruckus and looking like a whiny brat. 
  • Wear it on your belt. - Still slightly dangerous but better a wedgie than a noose.
  • Jam it in your pocket. - If anyone needs to see it you can drag it out. Sometimes just the sight of a lanyard dangling is enough to get you past security.
  • Hack your own breakaway. - By far the best solution, your tag is still visible and you look like a total bad ass genius for improving the item all on your own.
Here's two quick ways to accomplish that hack. Whether it's nylon webbing or a round cord, just cut that sucker with your Leatherman and join the two halves up with a piece of gaff tape. Even better, you can show off your expertise in rope craft and tie a fisherman's knot on one side. Pull it tight and leave the other end bare. Pulled tight it will hold on all day but slide off in an emergency. It has the added benefit of shortening the length by a couple inches too which will help keep it out of your way all day. (I'm not going to explain how to tie that here, go look it up if you don't already know.)


  1. I love the assumption we all have Leathermans.... cause we do haha. Great article!

    1. Haha, I was thinking exactly the same.

  2. I never even thought of those things as a danger. I'll certainly be more mindful of them now.


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