Camp 'Tree Access Evo'
Camp have a deep history of producing fall arrest harnesses and hardware, their first offering for Arborists is a comfortable and lightweight harness that offers a fall arrest conversion along with many options for racking equipment.

Edelrid 'Tree Core'
German sport and professional rope, hardware and harness manufacturer have a long history in many 'at height' disciplines and have consistently pushed their design language with Arborist harnesses. The legendary Tree Magic was replaced by the Tree Core and offers options for fall arrest conversion, racking tools and unique bridge cinching system. The side D rings are also unique in that they can be removed and repositioned forward or backward, this is always overlooked in harness design and even a comfy harness can give pain when using a lanyard on the side D rings. It is a special feature and worth looking at for this
alone.

Simarghu 'Fire' & 'Gemini'
A new harness for ODSK with an interesting design language. We are expecting a fall arrest conversion later this year which will enhance the already interesting and comfy design. A female and male version are available, the former has additional webbing in the crotch area and is actually comfy for men too.

No45. Investing in a Harness

 

Key words: Work Positioning, Fall Arrest, Harness, EN358, EN361


In 2005 the British Health and Safety Executive changed work at height law and demanded that all activities above 2 metres should be undertaken with two rope systems, a main work line and an independent backup line. The main line and backup should be anchored separately and connected to the harness at two distinct and separate load bearing points. That said, there was a lot of investigation made by the Arboriculture industry into wether two systems at all times were practical and/or safe to use in trees and the subsequent guidelines were written as thus:
 

In the tree, where possible, the system should be securely attached to two load-bearing anchor points.

Each anchor point should be strong enough to support the climber, work equipment and foreseeable loading.
Work positioning systems should only be used if there is a suitable backup system for preventing orarresting a fall.

If the backup system includes a second line, the user must be connected to it.

If it is not reasonably practicable to have a backup system, you need to make sure that the work positioning system

doesn't fail - for example by:
- Training
- Using properly chosen equipment
- Choosing reliable anchor points
- Following industry and HSE guidance
- Correct use of tools


In rope access and positioning a single rope can be used if a risk assessment has shown that the use of a second line would entail higher risk, and appropriate measures have been taken to ensure safety.
 

HSE recognizes that arboricultural techniques and tree form and species will mean that it is not always reasonably practicable to have either two climbing lines or to be attached to the tree by two
separate systems. We have worked with the industry in revising the Guide to Good Climbing Practice. This builds on the previous good practice guidelines and provides greater detail in a number of key areas, for example:


- When load bearing supplementary anchor points are used
- How the work position should be organised to minimise the risk of the system failing

 

Rope work anchor choice is never a straight forward or easy subject to discuss or put into practice, whatever the discipline. Tree workers have a range of anchor dynamics to deal with which include a variety of biotic and abiotic factors, size, health and strength parameters along with weather systems, rain, wind, snow, previous work history etc. Tree climbers sometimes set an anchor at arms length but more often will be remote setting at 20-30M, a difficult and high risk activity. The demands of remotely selecting a safe anchor fall into the priorities of: knowledge of tree species and health, climbing system knowledge, risk assessment, job specification and throw line technique. It is impossible to ever know the true strength of a tree branch but with experience and constant risk assessment there are usually many options available for tree workers.
 

The tree workers system consists of a mainline and side lanyard. They will use the mainline to move into their work position, attach the side lanyard for stability, and then proceed with the work action. They may have to install more lines, third lines, highlines etc but this is a separate discussion.
 

Slope workers are often faced with options quite different to tree workers, that is, a small amount of options of where to anchor, unknown deterioration of steel and concrete, ground anchor installation in hard or unstable soil, hard and sharp edges and certainly no where to install a lanyard at mid point on the slope. The same can be said for vertical rope access, buildings and wind turbines.
The latter two disciplines being mostly two dimensional and being that a side lanyard will almost certainly not be used lend themselves to a typical work line / backup line setting so it makes sense to use a fall arrest harness. The working line and backup line will be connected to two independent load bearing parts of the harness.


A typical Fall Arrest harness (EN361) has a central, ventral and dorsal attachment point. This works well for up/down movement but becomes limiting when any sideways movement is needed. There is a range of EN361 harnesses available and a large selection of these are on display at ODSK. This article will look at harnesses that hold both EN361 and EN358 as I believe the bridge style connection point is vital for tree work and is overlooked as an option in fall arrest work.
 

A work positioning harness (EN358) offers the most range of motion, and in my opinion is the most comfortable to sit, position and move in. There are some varieties with two bridge options and some that can incorporate a fall arrest harness, the latter will have the EN361 certification.
 

There is expectation for the Japanese legal framework to update in 2022 (JISS), all rope workers must use a fall arrest harness and more than likely a backup system. At the beginning I quoted the British guidelines and Arborist industry reaction to it because it is clear to any professional tree climber that the complex form of trees does not allow a full time backup system to be used. It is up you to react positively and show JISS
why this is not viable.
That said, you can protect your harness investment by investing in a harness compatible for work positioning and fall arrest.


The following models allow any work at height activity, tree climbing and crane work, geo technical (slope), building maintenance, turbine etc and all are available at ODSK.


Harnesses


Petzl 'Sequoia'
Industry leader offering smart design and comfort in a lightweight package. A lighter weight chest harness
option is available for ascender ascent but does not give a certified fall arrest conversion. The large gold
rings (Lower D's) have options for one or two bridge ropes, which are available as spares. The Sequoia
offers pin point centre of gravity adjustment by lengthening and/or shortening the webbing attached to the
golden coloured lower D (all of these harnesses have this design). A multitude of webbing loops and slots
and a dedicated first aid placement.