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kevinjohnsonmbe

Background to the HSE decision on two rope working

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I would like to bet that most of the accidents (Not all) are happening to people who are not adhering to what is already in place.

I know plenty of people who are safe and competent working off one line. I also know people you could give 3 lines to, and still couldn't be trusted. Training is the way forward 

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1 hour ago, Stephen Blair said:

I seriously can’t see the fuss about using another line, I’ve worked with 3 lines from 3 separate trees in the past for accessing dead trees, I often use 2 lines if the crown has no central leader, it’s great for fighting the pendulum effect.

  I think this is only going to effect guys who don’t like being told they ‘ have ‘ to do something.

 Piece of advice, central line long  friction loop, offset line small loop.

  If you use mechanical then you have the ability to be progressive so you will fine.😀

i cant see how you think it wont make much difference to climbing with one mainline!!! 

tying to controll two friction hitches or devices on a descent is going to be tricky, plus no hands left for guiding oneself.

always suspected the whole BREXIT  thing was a smoke screen...... its all starting to make sense now! ;)

fair enough if you think it wont affect you but for me i think this is a bloody massive problem.

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2 hours ago, dumper said:

Some might argue that utility arb where they generally work on one side of the tree and not very high, has no relevance when the rest of the industry can be approaching 100ft up and in three dimensions

That's a valid comment, and one with which I agree...but HSE have seen it in a much simpler, perhaps too simplistic, way.

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2 hours ago, Tom D said:

This drives a massive wedge between the compliant and non compliant. And those who want to cross the divide will find it increasingly difficult.

Tom, firstly, apologies I'm struggling to keep up with your posts and keep the other plates spinning.

Secondly, we feel it should be the HSE responding here so we are going to suggest the industry rep does so ASAP.

Thirdly, the above statement is very true but could be a positive differentiator if the appointing client, more likely commercial / LA, insists upon full compliance. (However, in terms of making it increasingly difficult to improve compliance, time will tell.)

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1 hour ago, kevinjohnsonmbe said:

Paul, on the one hand I’m sorry for highlighting such a potentially sensitive issue, particularly on a Sunday evening and that you seem to be taking all the flak singlehandedly.  Admirably by the way. 

 

On the other hand, whilst I appreciate AA is ‘as good as it gets’ in relation to sector representation (and not to be underestimated), it’s not really fair to suggest we at the operational end have some how chosen to ignore something quite so potentially significant. 

 

For myself, and I’m sure most, I’ve been playing by the rules I was trained to.  I haven’t ignored any part of that. 

 

Has AA required and observed 2 ropes per climber at AAAC validation assessments over the past decade?

 

If no, that must be as fundamentally flawed as the training that is still being delivered and which, following on from site discussions this morning, simply doesn’t cover this. 

Kevin, absolutely no need to apologise and it was my choice to reply on a Sunday evening...nowt on telly anyway ;)

 

Apologies also as my reference to "the industry" was a the true collective sense of the term inc. AA / AAAC Scheme, NPTC, Lantra, LAs, contractors, climbers etc. etc. and probably a failing on our part in not insisting on it (on reflection I can't understand why we didn't :/.)

 

In answer to your question, whilst the exception, I observed a climber in a, very large, Lombardy, a few months ago on a 2 rope system and it didn't seem to hinder his progress (turned out he was ex-SES, i.e. a utility contractor.)

 

The 'whole' industry, including training and assessing etc., has a big job on to change to meet these requirements and, as I said before, it will likely be years not months before we see a major change.

 

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1 hour ago, Con said:

I would like to bet that most of the accidents (Not all) are happening to people who are not adhering to what is already in place.

I know plenty of people who are safe and competent working off one line. I also know people you could give 3 lines to, and still couldn't be trusted. Training is the way forward 

Another very valid comment, and one we too have pitched at HSE AND demonstrated on site, but they've chosen to take a different view.

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58 minutes ago, carlos said:

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

 

Sorry, can't answer this one but I'll try a man who hopefully can and get back :/ 

 

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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 

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54 minutes ago, carlos said:

i cant see how you think it wont make much difference to climbing with one mainline!!! 

tying to controll two friction hitches or devices on a descent is going to be tricky, plus no hands left for guiding oneself.

always suspected the whole BREXIT  thing was a smoke screen...... its all starting to make sense now! ;)

fair enough if you think it wont affect you but for me i think this is a bloody massive problem.

I find it easy, you can’t imagine anything else other than difficult and complicated and you haven’t tried it yet!

  As I mentioned in an earlier post, 2 different sized friction chords makes for a simpler life.  1 for assents and descents and 1 for side adjustments.  It’s a much more comfortable work position I find.  A floating bridge with 2 swivel crane is a benefit.

  When descending from hopefully directly above, if your secondary line is offset and to the side you are working, say heading out a limb, you descend at an angle rather than vertically and then having to pull your way across. It’s easy trust me.   Once you get the hang of it, get a few tantrums out the way it’s easier.

  I climber for 10 years before doing my tickets, and the instructor handed me 2 lines and no strop.  I just got on with it and before I started he put me onto teaching another lad who had never climbed.

  The only time it feels different is when you need to choker around the main stem on a change over and the sit back is slightly more compared to working off the D’s.

  The way you climb just now is a progression from guys who climbed 30 years ago and you have managed fine.

  

 

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