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Background to the HSE decision on two rope working

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I've used two lines in the past Stevie and its definitely slower. The big concern is that you have double the chance of catching your rope with falling material.

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your right steve i havent really tried it save for the odd time for a particular secnario, i may well try it if we have a day rate job!

i love my srt set up at the moment and personally consider it a great leap forward over my double rope system and really cant see using 2 ropes as any kind of forward progression.

does the rope industry have a much better safety record over arb in terms of falls from height?

do any other countries enforce this practice?

carl

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1 hour ago, AA Teccie (Paul) said:
  2 hours ago, carlos said:

so whats the deal with SRWP then? is that allowed or not or only srt for acsess???

From my understanding the newly completed and HSE approved LANTRA SRWP course standardises and removes any grey areas on what is and isn't acceptable to HSE  in regard to access, work positioning and rescue, and in what situation single rope can be applied.

Contact LANTRA who can give details of Instructors who are available to run it in the area that you live.

The workbook is only available on LANTRA courses, the ink is still wet.

 

edit:  I have nothing to do with running these courses or have any vested interest in them.

Edited by The avantgardener
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1 hour ago, Tom D said:

Paul I appreciate all the time you're putting into this and hope that you can get someone from the HSE to hear our concerns.

 

Heres the letter I sent to my MP, I urge all those who take issue with this to do the same, please feel free to copy mine.

 

Dear...

I am writing to express my concerns that the HSE has now redefined Arboricultural work from ‘Work Positioning’ to ‘Rope Access’. This may sound like a tweak of little consequence, but it will not make the industry safer, in fact it will likely have the opposite effect. For information Rope Access is systems are used to access the exterior of buildings and structures, not trees. This change to the guidance has been brought in with no industry consultation. The issue arises from the fact that in a Rope Access situation the operator or climber is required to be tied in twice; that he has two separate ropes or strops connecting to his harness, and that these two ropes are secured at two separate anchor points. Should he inadvertently disconnect or damage one connection the other will catch him. This is made possible by the fact that Rope access technicians generally descend to their working position and they do not need to disconnect their lines for the duration of their job, they climb and position themselves using their ropes before returning and removing the ropes at the end of the job.  In arboriculture things are quite different, trees themselves are climbed and the ropes are generally there as a failsafe or to help with work positioning, arborists will use a second point of attachment only when cutting with a chainsaw to mitigate against inadvertently cutting a rope. When climbing around the tree one connection is always maintained in case of a slip. The three-dimensional nature of trees makes the use of an additional third line problematic and slow, the risks of felled material contacting a rope are much higher with an extra rope in the tree (potentially a fatal incident).

My issue with this change is that because the tree work industry is not well regulated and that most tree work businesses are extremely small companies this change in the guidance will put thousands of workers at risk of falling foul of the law. Those who comply with the changes will be forced to increase prices significantly. Many others will just flout the new guidance leading to a race to the bottom in terms of worker safety. In an industry dominated by micro-businesses (there are only a handful of UK companies who have more than 30 employees) we have been traditionally slow to adopt new working practices. Some small firms see the opportunity to cut corners as a way to make money, this change is grist to the mill of these corner cutting firms. Those of us who choose to comply with this change will face bills for extra equipment and our productivity will fall drastically. This change will likely result in compliant firms in the competitive domestic sector being forced to go non-compliant or face winding up. While these types of changes to regulations work well in other industries where businesses are much larger and have much more to loose from HSE prosecution in the Arboricultural industry many firms will simply ignore these changes. And since they will be non-compliant in this respect why comply in others? I fear that these changes will drive many firms into a downward spiral of non-compliance which will put lives at risk.


I hope that with your help the HSE can be persuaded to listen to the concerns of the Arboricultural Industry before pressing ahead with these changes.

  
Further information on this issue can be found here: https://www.trees.org.uk/Help-Advice/Public/Background-to-the-HSE-decision-on-two-rope-working

And here: https://arbtalk.co.uk/forums/topic/116973-background-to-the-hse-decision-on-two-rope-working/#comments

 

Please get in touch if you have any queries.

 

Regards 

Good letter . However  I would not include the bit were you say  "many others will just will flout the new guidance leading to a race to the bottom  in terms of work safety " .  This pre supposes the very thing you are trying to preserve is , in fact , not safe .  

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1 hour ago, Tom D said:

I've used two lines in the past Stevie and its definitely slower. The big concern is that you have double the chance of catching your rope with falling material.

Mmmm, as much as your math is correct I feel you should choose your battles better, don’t focus on this, close the laptop and go a walk down the beach with your kids or a cycle you haven’t done in years.  Deep breaths, you have achieved a huge amount in your career I doubt another rope is going to get in your way unless you let it mate.

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32 minutes ago, The avantgardener said:

From my understanding the newly completed and HSE approved LANTRA SRWP course standardises and removes any grey areas on what is and isn't acceptable to HSE  in regard to access, work positioning and rescue, and in what situation single rope can be applied.

Contact LANTRA who can give details of Instructors who are available to run it in the area that you live.

The workbook is only available on LANTRA courses, the ink is still wet.

 

edit:  I have nothing to do with running these courses or have any vested interest in them.

cool thanks, i did see a big srt manual in a local arb shop but didnt get time to look at it, although i feel srt has been developed by climbers for climbers on the street so,s to speak, which i like and that the official side of things is only just catching up.

still im sure the course would be interesting, i doubt there is one local to me though. 

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4 hours ago, carlos said:

so whats the deal with SRWP then? is that allowed or not or only srt for acsess???

 

Evening Carlos, apologies for delay.

 

Apparently SRWP is allowed but, as with SRT, will be subject to the higher level of compliance under W@H Regs = backup / safety line at all times.

 

Cheers,

Paul

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Evening Carlos, apologies for delay.
 
Apparently SRWP is allowed but, as with SRT, will be subject to the higher level of compliance under W@H Regs = backup / safety line at all times.
 
Cheers,
Paul

Which sort of spoils the whole idea, a single rope but with two! Mmmmmm not quite right is it !
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1 minute ago, Ian C said:


Which sort of spoils the whole idea, a single rope but with two! Mmmmmm not quite right is it !

I/we too believe the HSE 'W@H specialists' have been too simplistic in their approach and not really considered the difference in the structures climbed / descended here but they view SRT/SRWP as 'rope access' = higher level of compliance = 2nd line :/ 

 

Gonna give it a break now n pickup again tamarra.

 

Cheers,

Paul

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Been climbing over 25 years. Agree with most of what Tom D says , and Dumper re. leccy lads on two lines (different job) and Con too.

I have been climbing on SRT for over 5 years and it has transformed/lengthened my climbing life - despite being headed towards 50yrs I ache way less than I used to - surely good for repetitive strain etc etc.

I saw Kevin Bingham demo two SRT lines and thought 'bugger, he's made that look so simple how long till HSE catches on and insists on it(because of WAH)' . Unfortunately quicker than I thought -  However it  sounds like double roped SRT would involve 4 ropes - in which case count me out. And x2 Doubled ropes is not generally practical as most people have said - I'm with you Tom D on the economics - will folk stop being all these approved things , and like you say that follows through to everything -LOLER etc etc  - I am a regular climber..... and  also a trainer .. ..........oh.

 

From my understanding 25years ago HSE were trying to implement a fall arrest system based on a lab prof working out fall distances etc and it was only narrowly averted by it being pointed out that you couldn't work a prussic that was 4ft away - due to fall arrest, and that falls on ropes in trees didn't tend to go as his lab showed as there were branches in the way.

 

Sounds like we could be in a similar situation. Again from my memory (which may have changed/amalgamated two stories) part of the latter proposal being averted involved Jack Kenyon sleeping in an airport somewhere to be able to reach a meeting to make the case  against the proposal - and the proposal was thwarted.

 

We might  need volunteers for sleeping rough.

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