Rope Splices: Use and inspection in Arboriculture
An increasing number of tree climbers are preferring to use spliced rope terminations rather than bulky termination knots. Most rope manufacturers that supply equipment to the arboriculture industry offer products with factory made splices in one or both ends of the rope. Other manufacturers offer sewn terminations or a combination of techniques known as a 'Slaice'. This is effectively part sewn, part spliced termination. For more information visit the Tuefelberger Slaice information page.
In more recent years some equipment retailers/wholesalers have been producing custom splices on request from end users. Each splice is handmade by an experienced person and depending on the retailer/wholesaler, samples of the splices are routinely sent for independent testing by the rope manufacturer. Some companies that produce custom rope splices with a declaration of conformity (CE) are: Freeworker, Germany and Honeybrothers, UK.
As part of the European LOLER project we are in the process of producing a qualification Standard for Equipment Inspectors at an operator level. One of the most contentious issues for us to address, particularly in the UK and Ireland is the use of non CE marked splices.
Many existing equipment inspectors will not pass a non-CE marked splice as to do so potentially contravenes European legislation. As does selling a non-CE marked piece of equipment. There are arguments for and against the use and inspection of non-CE marked splices but we need some feedback on this issue.
some of the arguments to consider (for and against):
- There is no evidence to backup the claim that non CE marked splices including home made splices are more dangerous
- There is no evidence of conformity without independent testing. the splice could be flawed or the splicer making the splice incorrectly
- No working at height industries apart from Arboriculture use self spliced or non certified splices.
- Factory made splices are readily available
- Factory made custom splicing is available
- CE marked custom splices and sewn terminations are readily available
- Evidence of training to splice may be sufficient to cover legislation but there is no Quality Assurance or mechanism for assessing ability apart from regular independent testing of self made splices by the rope manufacturer.
- to produce a valuable standard for equipment inspection, we need to cater for the needs of the industry on a European context. for the standard to be respected we must follow the lead of other professions such as those using IRATA standards. They do not use self made splices!
Comments can be made on this blog or contact us at the European LOLERproject