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Background to the HSE decision on two rope working

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I think that the AA have championed this cause in the best way they knew how. We might have done it differently, but I dont think they didn't try or colluded in any way.

I think that I will produce a document detailing all the concerns of the industry based on the discussions on here and then see if I can get some response from the HSE. 


Based on the responses on the consultation thread we ought to be able to come up with something pretty robust.

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As far as I've read the AA with other notable climbers who I'm sure will have put on a good demo showing thatour current practices are safe (to a point). They will have put our case across but fell on deaf ears, poked out eyes and the inability to see reason beyond a 2 separate anchor/rope system.

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Also..... the inevitable expectation on the part of the HSE, and maybe to a lesser extent the AA, that there will be ‘pushback’ from within the industry.... “after all, no one likes change, but then they’ll get used to it and the fuss will die down”.
I think that in order to get this decision overturned or at least reviewed by the HSE, there would need to be some pretty loud and influential voices shouting in their direction. Or some very concerted effort from the industry to make a strong and clear case, demonstrating the negative effects this decision will have on the overall safety and well-being of climbers.

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On 02/09/2019 at 09:38, AA Teccie (Paul) said:

Perhaps not in relation to the potential for anchor point failure but accidental detachment from one system, or cutting through of one system etc. 

IVe only got to page 4 on this disscuison but felt the need to ask - Accidental detachment and cutting through of one system - this is human error, not following current practice regarding safety procedures. i.e Using a secondary line (side strop) when cutting or unclipping from the main system using a load bearing anchor point for it will stop falls. 


As for anchor point failure - I have had two mates bust their backs due to anchor point failure so I can support the decision in this BUT it should be for the climber to assess the situation - Both of those lads fell in small less than 10m high shitty trees. for me SRT or SRWPT or wtf it is getting called, Allows for a single line to be attached to multiple anchors. The use of the Multi saver also allows this.   


The biggest problem i feel is the lack of clear data - HSE i assume just have x number of accidents caused by falls or something and probably lack the detailed contexts and industry experience to assess if these accidents were user error / not following the current normal best practices.  e.g not making sure you have a side strop attached to a load bearing anchor point when removing your main system  - e.g to advance the main line. 


The thing is HSE are stubborn bunch  - it sounds good to them so they will stick their claws in.  It will be interesting to see if they push this and it becomes the norm if there is a drop in accidents - i personally dont think so - the types of accidents will change -I feel sorry the first poor sod who ends up getting strangled in a tree with a rope around his neck. 


I was just thinking on some big reduction jobs we can have 3 to 4 guys in a tree- sometimes with a little bit of rigging going on, quick speedline over a green house etc. And a rescue line installed / though used more for hauling gear, stashing saws and water bottles on.  So that has potential for 10 lines being used! 6 is bad enough! plus side strops- 



Im sure you have been through all h

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I would still like to see the actual accident reports thar the HSE relied on to come to this conclusion 

were the people involved trained pros, journeymen,students or amateurs.were they climbing on modern equipment, used equipment or blue rope 

on the non fatal accidents were second climbers used or did they self recover to ground level the more I think the more questions there are

it is possible to make statistics say whatever you want. I believe that this decision has been put forward by one or two people at the H S E so I would like to be able to see the evidence

if the AA need to write the icop they should publish the facts until then they should resist if they don’t write the icop who else will ?. Until it is written it can’t be law,

the AA are industry funded not government they should be looking after the companies and people who pay their subscriptions for true representation, just because the HSE tell them to do it doesn’t mean they roll over and comply, ultimately subscriptions pay their mortgage not the HSE 

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On 01/09/2019 at 22:31, TIMON said:


Evening Paul.

Can’t help wondering how ‘pragmatic’ the insurance companies will be in the event of a claim?..

Funny you should mention utility companies. (I wonder if this is where it’s come from?)
I recently heard about a utility company insisting on their climbers using two points of connection at all times (3 when cutting).
Apparently it was because they’d had quite a few climbers falling out of trees. (?!)

The worrying thing about this (IMO) is that some guy in an office, responsible for safety issues a knee jerk reaction (3 tie in points) rather than a systematic investigation tackling the real causes of why their climbers were repeatedly falling . Surely there must have been something fundamentally wrong in their basic climbing/working practices? By introducing the new policy they have merely ‘covered over’ why it was happening in the first place and not addressed the real issues.

Surely the HSE would be serving the industry far better if they could establish the specific causes behind these accidents and address the issues through training and implementing better work practices, rather than just saying
“We don’t know why people fall out of trees so you’ll just have to use another rope”

Sorry for the rant,



After talking to guys from NW Electricity and a few Utility Contractors I was under the impression that Utility cutters were forced to use 2 ropes as a feedback from the  pylon climbing side, and that there were changes in their regs as the results of accidents, and as the Utility Arb guys were working for the Electricity companies then the regs were applied to them, Rather that this was as a direct result of Arb accidents(Utility or otherwise)

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My only and - off field addition to this - is at Claus Matthecks lecture ( his last on ) he pointed to us in Rail and said " I sympathise with you as - you have to certify a tree - which you cannot see its root system, you cannot see inside its trunk and the crown is open to whatever storm or rain damage occurs- as safe . How can you do this visually ? You cannot defend in court the presence of any tree within strike distance of Rail . " ( sic ) Basically you fell all trees ......


So in regard to when and how you justify MEWP use , two rope , SRT whatever - the decision is down to you - with the resultant legal responsibilty. As a visual assessment will not guarantee totally safe access. K

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On 08/09/2019 at 20:33, Konstantly said:

Great. Thanks Dave J/John. Can you publish the rigours risk assessment for us all to peruse over?  I know that you have not directly upload this but the info you may have available may give others a chance to have a collective input..





Dragged myself back on here to grind my way through this reading, got to page 12 and skipped to pg33 so apologies if I missed some vital information but the first 12 pages seemed very repetitive.


Anyway I have lots to add in time but first was curious about Lantra awards workbook that I now assume is scrapped as SRT is classed as rope access and not rope positioning? Will Lantra be working on a new workbook and be changing the aims and objectives to reflect the new HSE stance?

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Some other questions


To keep us all working to the same parameter I assume Dd'RT working will also be classified as rope access?


The rest of my questions really comes down to how this will be implemented in the revised icop and TG as until then I am only talking out loud.

Issues of how can we classify working with Stationary Rope Technique and class it as rope access yet use a work positioning harnesses?

Two ropes also would require two separate attachments points on your harness to really be in the spirit of it otherwise whats the point?   

And if its two sperate points one would have to be fall arrest as using two work positioning systems... well i hope you see my point.


Again these are all things to be cleared up in time when the new guidance comes out which will take years and hopefully in the meantime we can rehroup rethink and maybe have another democratic process and approach the HSE again and review as its clear this is unworkable, it was unworkable 12 years ago its still unworkable now.


Or as its been said i'm to old and irrelevant now and need to roll over and let the new generation of climbers put this into practice.



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