Too many times, I have been walking on construction sites and I have looked up to see a lifeline being used, and it just about never fails for me to see the three required saddle-bolts being used, but, being used incorrectly. I will find them either: all saddles on the wrong end (dead end) of the line, two on the dead end or at least one of them on the dead end. All three saddle bolts shall be on the live end of the wire rope.



Never Saddle a Dead Horse

The proper way to use wire rope clips can be remembered this way: “Never saddle a dead horse.” The saddle of the clip is the piece that fits into the U bolt. The dead end of a wire rope is the end of the eye that contains the cut side. The U bolt should always be in contact with the dead end, while the saddle should be on the live end. All three of them!


Wire rope end termination efficiency ratings are based upon the wire rope’s minimum breaking force. When properly installed clips are used, eyes formed in wire rope will have the efficiency rating shown below:

Wire Rope Size


1/8″ through 7/8″

1″ through 2-1/2″


 *Malleable cast iron clips should only be used in non-critical applications. ASME, OSHA, and ASTM recommend only forged clips for critical applications. ( n.d.)

Reference (n.d.). Retrieved from

Incorrect Usage


Incorrect Usage


Correct Usage