OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 41 Work Requiring Rope Access

Section 838 Back-up devices

Back-up devices are used to attach the worker to the safety line. In the event of a failure of the working line or loss of control by the worker, back-up devices are intended to lock on to the safety line without causing catastrophic damage to the line and also to absorb the limited shock load that might occur. The device acts to prevent or restrict a fall. Back-up devices used in industrial rope access systems must be approved to one or more of the listed standards.

For compliance purposes, the back-up device must bear the mark or label of a nationally accredited testing organization such as CSA, UL, SEI, etc. as evidence that the back-up device meets the requirements of at least one of the listed standards. A back-up device bearing a CE mark is considered acceptable for the purposes of this Code, as is a back-up device bearing the UIAA label. The CE mark – Conformite Europenne – indicates that the company manufacturing the product has met the requirements of one or more European directives. A UIAA label cannot be used unless the back-up device already bears a CE mark.

CEN Standard EN 353-2

CEN Standard EN 353-2: 2002, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height – Part 2: Guided type fall arresters including a flexible anchor line, specifies the requirements, test methods, marking, information supplied by the manufacturer and packaging for guided type fall arresters including a flexible anchor line which can be secured to an upper anchor point. A “guided type fall arrester” travels along an anchor line, accompanies the user without requiring manual adjustment during upward or downward changes of position, and locks automatically on the anchor line when a fall occurs. A “flexible anchor line” may be a synthetic fibre rope or a wire rope and is to be secured to an upper anchor point.

CEN Standard EN 567

CEN Standard EN 567: 1997, Mountaineering equipment – Rope clamps – Safety requirements and test methods, specifies safety requirements and test methods for rope clamps for use in mountaineering including climbing. A rope clamp is a mechanical device, which, when attached to a rope or an accessory cord of appropriate diameter, locks under load in one direction and slips freely in the opposite direction.

UIAA Standard 126

UIAA Standard 126: 2004, Mountaineering and Climbing Equipment – Rope Clamps, requires that the back-up device meets the requirements of CEN Standard EN 567 plus an additional safety requirement that applies to rope clamps used for self-belaying.

ANSI Standard Z359.1

ANSI Standard Z359.1-2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components, establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, inspection, use, maintenance, and removal from service of connectors, full body harnesses, lanyards, energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, vertical lifelines, and self-retracting lanyards comprising personal fall arrest systems for users within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds (59 to 140 kg).