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Cracked Bolts in S-Tec Duck-R and EnForcer-H

S-Tec Duck and Enforcer
23/10/18
In response to posts placed on Facebook mentioning a hair line crack that had been discovered in a component of the STEC Duck-R, specifically on the head of the retaining bolts, S-Tec stated:

As a precaution, our development department started an investigation and has carried out an internal audit to track any possible quality control issues. This investigation has found that there are some bolts from older batches that display marks consistent with the appearance of “hair line cracks” in the metal.

We then carried out several tests to establish whether these marks posed a problem.

The results of those tests are:
1 – The “hair line crack” as described on Facebook are actually a stamping mark which is a residual mark from the bolts manufacturing process and is perfectly normal.
2 – A sample of a previously rejected bolts with intentional cracks, larger than shown online, was used and subjected to EN12841 Type A testing. The devices with both bolt heads “seriously cracked” passed the testing process as per the standard.
3 – As the bolts used on Ducks and Enforcers are replaceable, STEC recommends that for any bolts you have a concern about they are removed and returned to your distributor who will the supply replacement parts.

An instructional video will be available in the oncoming days showing the correct way to replace this part. Alternatively, you can return the entire unit to your local distributor to have the replacement carried out.

Click here to read the S-Tec statement.

Update 05/11/18
From S-Tec:
We have had very few actual occurrences reported to us – much less than 0.1% of manufactured units.

SafeTec are aware of the cracked bolt problem. These cracks have no effect on strength, function or performance of the device but is an undesirable cosmetic issue that has slipped through quality control and SafeTec have implemented measures to improve bolt supply quality and production  checks. If users find crack in bolt head SafeTec will supply replacement bolts and have video instruction of changeout procedure to 18Nm using medium grade thread lock – E.G. Loctite 2400.

Units can also be send back to your supplier who can arrange for bolts to be changed by SafeTec.

Users should continue to carry out visual and tactile pre-use inspections and function checking as detailed in the User information. 

Review of the Petzl Avao Sit Fast versus Petzl Astro Sit Fast (when used with the Petzl Top Croll)

Following our comparison of the old versus new version of the Petzl Avao last week, we thought it would be good to look at the new Petzl Avao versus the Petzl Astro.

Petzl Avao Sit Fast versus Petzl Astro Sit Fast

Petzl Avao v Astro Harness Comparison

Petzl Avao Sit Fast and Petzl Astro Sit Fast – similarities

• Waistbelt equipped with self-locking Doubleback buckles for quick and easy adjustment

• Leg loops equipped with Fast LT buckles for quick and easy opening and fastening without the need to readjust them, even while wearing gloves
• Narrow front leg-loop webbing (from the ventral attachment point)
• Six pre-shaped equipment loops with protective sheath
• Two slots for Caritool tool holder
• Four slots for Toolbag tool pouch

Petzl Avao Sit Fast and Petzl Astro Sit Fast – differences

• Fixed ventral D ring on the Avao v ‘Openable’ ventral D ring on the Astro
• Metal Side Ds on the Avao v Textile reinforced with plastic on the Astro
• Lightweight mesh back and leg webbing on the Avao v Padded webbing on the Astro
• Deeper waistbelt on the Avao than on the Astro

Petzl Top Croll

Also worth noting are the differences between the Petzl Top Croll L and the Petzl Top Croll S:

Petzl Top Croll S v Top Croll L

Petzl Top Croll – features

Petzl Top Croll L

  • Large Croll chest ascender on the Top Croll L – suitable for rope diameter 10mm-13mm
  • Y Shaped design with single attachment point on the Top Croll L
  • Metal sternal attachment point on the Top Croll L

Petzl Top Croll S

  • Small Croll chest ascender on the Top Croll S – suitable for rope diameter 10mm-11mm
  • X shaped double attachment point on the Top Croll S
  • Soft webbing sternal attachment point on the Top Croll S

Note that whilst the Top Croll S is compatible with all the Petzl Falcon harnesses, it is only compatible with the 2018 onwards versions of the Avao Sit harnesses (due to previous versions not having the small loops on the rear of the waist belt to attach the mini maillons to).

Old Petzl Avao harness versus New Petzl Avao harness

Petzl Avao Harness comparison

During 2018, Petzl changed their AVAO (European) range of harnesses. They stripping out much of the comfort padding and made some other fundamental changes; which we think are well worth highlighting.

When paired with a TOP CROLL, the old AVAO SIT and AVAO SIT FAST were used by some for rope access; as the design was similar to the old NAVAHO’s Y shaped single attachment of the rear of the top section to the waistbelt (as opposed to the X-shape on the old AVAO). However, the new AVAO SIT and AVAO SIT FAST are a different design to the old versions and as they have less comfort padding, they are not primarily designed with rope access in mind. Most importantly, having limited / no padding, a deep waistbelt and less hardwearing material on the rear section of the leg loops.

New Petzl Avao Bod Fast
Petzl Avao Bod Fast C071BA0x

The go-to rope access harnesses in the Petzl range are the ASTRO BOD FAST and the ASTRO SIT FAST (used with a TOP CROLL L or Top Croll S chest harness).

Differences between the old and new Petzl AVAO harness

All Petzl AVAO harnesses (AVAO BOD / AVAO BOD FAST and AVAO SIT / AVAO SIT FAST):

Old Petzl Avao Sit C79AFAx and new Petzl Avao Sit Fast C079BA0x
  • The waist-belt has increased in height and depth
  • There is considerably less comfort padding in the waistbelt and leg loops. It’s now just a see-through mesh

These changes mean that the new Petzl Avao harnesses are less comfortable while working in suspension.

  •  All metal attachment points are now H cross-section construction, ensuring an improved strength to weight ratio
  • The front leg-loop webbing (from the ventral attachment point) is narrower
  • The mesh on the outer section of the leg-loops is more susceptible to damage by abrasion

AVAO BOD / AVAO BOD FAST harnesses:Old Petzl Avao Bod Fast C79AFA0x and the new Petzl Avao Bod Fast C071BA0x

  • Each shoulder strap on the AVAO BOD and BOD AVAO FAST includes MGO connector holders, which will release the parked connectors at a force of 5kg
  • The karabiner above the ventral attachment point is now an H cross-section Petzl OK screw-lock with CAPTIV bar
  • The old X-shaped dorsal construction is no more. It is now a single webbing attachment to the rear of the waist-belt
  • The buckles on the FAST versions include Petzl’s new FAST LT buckles

In view of the above, we would advise customers to use a Petzl ASTRO, not the new versions of the AVAO for rope access.

The European AVAO BOD CROLL has been discontinued. The International version is still available with a CROLL and the new ASTRO BOD includes a large CROLL

For further information on Petzl harnesses, please visit Petzl.com

New Petzl Rig 2018

Designed for expert users, the Petzl Rig descender has become increasing popular with the more experienced rope access technicians. Less bulky than its big brother, the Petzl ID, the Rig ‘fails to safe’ when the handle is released (the device will lock onto the rope), but it does not have the extra fail to safe panic function found on the ID where the device will also lock onto the rope if the handle is pulled sharply downwards in panic.

Ease of Use
Easy rope installation thanks to the rope guide and markings, the device also has a plastic gate allowing the front plate to twist open so the rope can be fitted / removed whilst it is still attached to the harness, reducing the drop risk.

Rating and Conformity
Small but still with the capacity for heavy loads (up to 200kg in exceptional circumstances and when in the hands of expert users!), the Rig is certified to EN12841 type C (Personal fall protection equipment. Rope access systems. Rope adjustment devices), EN341 class 2A (Personal fall protection equipment. Descender devices for rescue), EN15151-1 (Rescue Descender, Mountaineering equipment. Braking devices. Braking devices with manually assisted locking, safety requirements and test methods) and NFPA 1983 Technical Use.
2018 Petzl Rig

Differences between the old and new Petzl Rig Descender
The latest version of the Petzl Rig differs from the original in a number of ways:
– Once the handle is released the device now goes into a full lock position (the user no longer has to move the handle to a lock position when they reach their work location).
– There is now a stainless steel wear section on the front plate where the rope runs during descent which will improve durability.
– The front and back plate sections have been redesigned to limit the risk of the rope becoming trapped in the gap between the front and back plates near the karabiner attachment point.
Old Petzl Rig v New

Top usage tips:
– The speed of descent should be managed by varying the grip on your ‘brake hand’, not with the handle.
– The maximum speed should be limited to 2m/s.

Available from Abaris International:  2018 Petzl Rig

New Rollclip ‘Z’ from Petzl


Following feedback from users of the Rollclip A, Petzl have Just released information about a Rollclip ‘Z’ which is due for release in 2017.

The Rollclip Z differs from the Rollclip A in shape and gate orientation (with the karabiner in the normal orientation, the gate opens in the traditional manner rather than upside down as is the case with the Rollclip A).

The Rollclip Z will be available with a choice of screwgate or triact (triple action – lift, twist then pull to open) gate.

For a short video visit our Facebook page:

Posted by Abaris International Ltd on Sunday, 6 November 2016

Skylotec Ignite harness range win design awards

Justifiably the new Skylotec Ignite harness range (comprising the Ion, Trion, Proton and Argon) has won the 2016 iF Design Award in the Product design category and is being awarded with the 2017 German Design Award Gold!

Ergonomics, comfort and design is very evident in the new Ignite range of harnesses from Skylotec. With four models, each available in 3 sizes, the Ignite harnesses are well thought-out, offer great comfort with shoulder and leg padding as standard, and are equipped with Skylotec’s patented adjusters which prevent loosening of the straps, as well as their new Oktalock click buckles which are low profile and high strength. Striking orange attachment points help guide the user to the correct place to attach lanyards to and thus limit the risk of incorrect attachment to non-loadbearing loops.

Skylotec Ignite Harnesses

At the basic end of the range is the Skylotec Ion which is a well made two point attachment fall arrest harness with a clever closure in the chest area which snaps shut magnetically. Moving up to the Trion, users benefit from a solid (rather than soft on the Ion) EN361 attachment point at the front, an Oktalock buckle on the chest and waist for ease of donning and removal, as well as side D’s (attachment points) for work positioning. For increased comfort and comparable (improved!) to the very popular ARG 51 Formotion harness, Skylotec have designed the Proton. Available in a wind version, the Proton Wind can also be bought with a stainless steel sternal attachment point suitable for use with HACA rails. Finally at the top end is the Ignite Argon, a beautiful looking, technical harness which meets EN361, EN813 and EN358, with a ventral attachment for attaching a descender.

Features:

  • Anchor points in vivid orange / Gear loops in grey
  • Patented anti-slip adjusters (prvents the harness straps from loosening accidentally)
  • Pull down adjustment
  • Belt strap coiling (to keep any excess strap lengths tidy)
  • Oktalock Click buckles

 

All Skylotec products are available in UK through Abaris International (if the product you are after is not shown, please call the Abaris Sales Team on +44(0)1484 768277).

Can you put stickers on safety helmets? How & where to mark PPE.

Stickers on safety helmets

So where do we stand with applying stickers to safety helmets?

Contrary to some of the opinions offered on the internet and the practical side of why you might want to add stickers to your helmet (yes we are aware of that stickers are recommended by various organisations as a way to identify suitably trained personnel, such as first aiders, forklift drivers etc *1), and there are some who have publicly stated ‘the effect of stickers on hard hats does not negatively affect the safety performance provided by the hard hat *2′), as far as we are concerned there is only one correct answer to the question of whether stickers can be stuck to a safety helmet: You should always follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of the specific helmet you are buying. Here at Abaris International we strongly recommend that you do not add any stickers to a helmet.

The reasons for this recommendation are:

  • Stickers can hide cracks and other potential damage
  • Stickers may eliminate electrical resistance (source: Guidance from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
  • Manufacturers cannot be certain that the glue used on the sticker won’t affect the integrity of the material the helmet is made from. This is also true for the use of permanent markers / sharpies.

If you really do need to add a sticker then you should only use ones approved by the manufacturer (Petzl for instance offer ‘stickers specially designed to not damage the shell of the Vertex and Alveo helmets …  … No other sticker has been approved by Petzl. Any other sticker carries a risk of damaging the shell with non-compatible solvents‘. These transparent or reflective stickers can be used as a base for non-approved stickers to be applied so long as the non-approved sticker does not overlap the approved sticker, or can be used as a place to write identification marks / names). Also try to limit the number and size of the stickers and place them away from the brim (this is where cracks are often seen during inspection).

Remember there are various other options for marking Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), consider using tags such as those shown below (Just be careful where you put them, make sure they won’t inhibit the functioning of the safety product, such as the tearing of the shock absorbing section of a lanyard, and also won’t be mistaken as a clip-in point). If these aren’t an option then you may be able to mark an item on a ‘non safety critical part’ such as sewn in label, comfort padding or in the case of a helmet, the torch clips (provided any degradation of these wouldn’t cause any failure to the safety parts of the helmet, such as chinstrap or cradle).

Certags

Further official guidance:

Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states you ‘should not customise head protection, e.g. make your own ventilation holes, paint, mark or put stickers on it‘ *3 .

HSE L25 Publication

The British Mountaineering Council have a guide to helmets which states ‘Stickers and marker pens can also cause damage – avoid unless they have been specifically recommended by the manufacturer. Marking the shell with a pen will generally invalidate any warranty, as well as potentially weakening the helmet. Some modern designs of helmet have specific areas set aside for identification markings. Otherwise adopt a common sense approach; for example, marking non-load bearing parts such as the headlamp clips is better than writing on top of the shell‘.

BMC Helmet Guide

References / Sections of relevance:

‘During the induction process we identify which inductees will be using plant and those that will be allowed to use mobile phones in site safety zones.

As sites normally have in excess of 150-200 people it is difficult to monitor or even remember who has been granted permission for these activities so we use helmet stickers as a visual indicator.

A brief look at an operative using a MEWP will indicate if he is IPAF trained by the wearing of a MEWP authorisation sticker or a supervisor using a phone will have a mobile approved sticker.

We have several stickers for various items, and this helps reduce the unauthorised use of phones and plant on site and has proved very effective’.

  • *2     From Safety + Health Official Magazine – Answer to question ‘Can I apply stickers to my hard hat?’ by Jeanette Gaunce, head and face protection product manager of US based manufacturer of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Bullard:

‘In most cases, the effect of stickers on hard hats does not negatively affect the safety performance provided by the hard hat. There is very little potential for chemical interaction between the type of adhesive used in typical pressure-sensitive stickers and the helmet shell. Their use would not be expected to negatively affect the performance of the helmet under normal conditions’.

  • *3     Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992:

‘PART 2 Selection, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment

Head Protection – Key points
88 The key points to note for head protection are:

(a) use an adjustable chinstrap, if fitted, to make sure the helmet does not fall off;
(b) clean the inside of the helmet and clean or replace sweatbands regularly;
(c) check regularly that any damage to the outside is no more than shallow scratches or grazes and that the internal harness is not damaged or deformed;
(d) throw head protection away after significant impact by a fixed or falling object. Head protection is unfit for use if the outside is deeply scratched, worn or deformed, the harness is damaged or deformed or it is beyond its usable protective life. As a general guide, industrial safety helmets should be replaced
three years after manufacture, but always check with the manufacturer;
(e) wear the helmet so that the brim is level when the head is upright. Do not wear it sloping up or down as this will significantly reduce the protection it can provide;
(f) do not wear head protection back to front – it will not protect you if you do.
(g) do not customise head protection, e.g. make your own ventilation holes, paint, mark or put stickers on it;
(h) do not wear a baseball style bump cap where there is a risk of falling objects – wear an industrial safety helmet instead’.

Skylotec Safety Check – Peanut I and Y

Skylotec have just released a request for a safety check on their Peanut I and Y lanyard range:

We have become aware of a potential error in the manufacturing process of our products PEANUT I and PEANUT Y. For your own safety, we ask you to please check all the products in your possession. We want to avoid the use of a faulty product in all instances, as this could potentially result in severe damage/s.

Products that need to be checked:

PEANUT I:
HSG-021-…
HSG-AUS-021-…

PEANUT Y:
HSG-022-…
HSG-AUS-022-…

On inspection of a PEANUT device, we noticed that a rivet had not been properly processed during manufacture. In use, this could cause loosening of the connecting piece between the device and the shock-absorbing element. In order to avoid the unintentional use of a potentially faulty device, we urgently ask you to check your PEANUT device/s as described here.

Skylotec-Peanut

New Grigri+ from Petzl

Being released at the Outdoor Show in Friedrichshafen is a new version of the Petzl Grigri, the Grigri+.

Petzl Grigri + (Plus)

It’s a beefed up Grigri, which looks to have been designed with adventure parks, outdoor centres and places or occasions where the standard Grigri takes a hammering, in mind!

By comparison with the previous versions of the Grigri, the Grigri + is marginally chunkier:

Old versus New Petzl Grigri

Key features include:

  • An anti-panic function where the device locks if the handle is pulled hard in panic (same clever system as found on Petzl’s most popular industrial descender the Petzl ID Descender). The anti-panic features (let go of the handle and the device locks, pull too hard on the handle and the device locks) also makes it more suitable for novice climbers who may be tasked to belay their buddy at a park or centre.
  • A patented switch which allows the user to change the Grigri set up to alternate between lead climbing and top roping (a knob on the reverse of the device loosens / tightens a spring to make it easier / harden to pay out rope).
Petzl Grigri + Belay Top Rope Switch
  • A stainless steel protector place on the inside of the front plate to give more protection against the wear of the rope against it.
  • A wider space between the cam and body allowing more space for the rope to pass through and help reduce the wear on the device from ropes that have become furry over time (note that the maximum rope diameter is still marked as 11mm).   

Small design tweaks from the standard Grigri also include the front plate central locking rivet now locking into the underneath of the front plate rather than through, and the section of the Grigri which guides the rope through the belay device at the climber end of the rope is more substantial and forms part of the main body rather than being part of the front plate.

Inside new Petzl Gri Gri Plus

Available in 2017, the Grigri+ is likely to retail at £85.

DMM Harnesses – Request for User Inspection

DMM have just released a Request for User Inspection on their harness range:

Following the discovery of missing structural sewing on a DMM Brenin Harness during a routine inspection by an end user, we are issuing the following information to users of all DMM harnesses, and asking them to carry out a visual inspection on the key structural sewing on their harnesses.

DMM Harness Request for User Inspection

This is the first instance of this product fault in the history of DMM harness production. As both the manufacturing and quality control processes on the Brenin are shared with our other harness models, we feel that issuing a precautionary instruction advising climbers to check all DMM harnesses is the appropriate response.

Upon notification of the missing structural sewing, DMM immediately initiated a full investigation and quality control audit on harness production, carried out a 100% re-inspection of all harness stock, and are now issuing this request for user inspection.

Q&A’s

How was the missing structural sewing found?

  • The missing bar tack was found by a customer during a routine equipment inspection. It is important to note that no harness failures, accidents, or injuries have occurred. DMM were informed, a full investigation was carried out. Corrective and preventative measures have been implemented.

What is the effect on strength?

  • The bar tacks are the main structural stitching on a harness. Depending on the style of the harness, there is often secondary stitching with a certain level of strength. With a bar tack missing, the harness breaking strength will be reduced. The returned Brenin harness was subjected to a full torso harness test in accordance with the European Standard EN 12277 and withstood 15kN loading without failure.

What harnesses are potentially affected?

  • In the past decade, several hundred thousand harnesses have been produced and sold by DMM, with the current harness return being the first occurrence of missing structural sewing. This request applies to all DMM harness styles still in service, no matter the age. We feel it is important to spread the net far and wide to ensure we reach as many end users as possible, raise awareness, and maximise user safety. Only by adopting this method will DMM and the climbing market be 100% reassured.

What is a ‘Request for User Inspection’?

  • This is a process used to proactively raise awareness of a potential product issue and to determine its scale and scope. As the presence of structural sewing is easy to inspect (using the Harness Inspection Sheets), it is possible for the users of our equipment to identify any faults. This helps us to ensure that this issue is not widespread, that maximum levels of safety are maintained, with the minimum of inconvenience for climbers. This is not a recall. A recall occurs when there is evidence of a widespread product issue with associated safety concerns.

What happens if missing structural sewing is discovered?

  • If your harness is missing the structural sewing, stop using the harness, quarantine, and contact DMM directly as per the instructions on the Harness Inspection Sheets.

What if I’m not 100% confident in my inspection?

  • If you have any doubt, please email returns@dmmwales.com We will be happy to help you get to the correct conclusion. As always with PPE it is important to be 100% confident in your equipment.

What steps are DMM taking to make sure this can’t/won’t happen again?

  • 100% Re-Inspection of all DMM harness stock.
  • A full investigation and audit of the harness quality control and manufacturing systems is underway.
  • Process improvements will be implemented.

For full information and inspection click here or visit our Facebook page.

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