In view of the safety warning issued by the Sicherheitskreis Seilkletteranlagen e.V. (SISKA) in November 2015 on the topic of symmetrical and asymmetrical lanyards in the context of strangulation risk assessments, EDELRID would like to provide the following information:
The safety warning (in German only) can be found at the following links:
EDELRID would like emphasize that depending on the type of safety system and/or its actual configuration(Lifeline/lanyard/harness), as installed by the builder or operator of High Ropes Courses and/or Aerial Adventure Parks, two potential strangulation scenarios are possible. One does not necessarily exclude the other.
The harness/lanyard configuration chosen by the park builder/operator does not prevent that in the event of a fall the head of the user could become entrapped between the two arms of the lanyard. Hence possibly resulting in strangulation through prolonged pressure on the airway (caused by the user's own body weight). This is especially so if the user has no real way of reducing the load of his/ her own load. This potential hazard exists and has to be assumed to be an inherent risk unless the park builder/operator of the course can entirely and conclusively exclude this from occurring.
EDELRID's proposal for a solution to scenario 1:
If it is not possible to ensure that a user's head will not end up between the arms of the lanyard, the following measures must be taken: The park builder/operator of the course must select the Y-point of the lanyard (illustrated as point B) using a direct or close-fitting point of the harness (illustrated as point C) in such a way that in the event of a fall in which the head of the user ends up between the arms of the lanyard, his/her weight is entirely and only caught by the harness.
In addition to this measure, in order to minimize the risk of strangulation, EDELRID recommends using the "Pilot Bar" in combination with its Smart Belay securing safety system. The Pilot Bar prevents the user from trapping his/her head between the arms of the lanyards and ensures that his/her weight is correctly supported by the harness.
The harness/lanyard configuration chosen by the park builder/operator does not prevent that in the event of a fall the head of the user could become entrapped between the two arms of the lanyard. Hence possibly resulting in strangulation through prolonged pressure on the major arteries of the neck (carotid arteries) caused by the user's own body weight. This is especially so if the user has no real way of reducing the load of his/her own load. This potential hazard exists and has to be assumed as a given if the park builder/operator of the course cannot entirely and conclusively excluded, even with a only remote possibility of this scenario occurring, however unlikely it might seem.
EDELRID's proposal for a solution to scenario 2:This risk could be diminished by using an asymmetrical lanyard. However, in our opinion, the risk is only effectively minimized if the difference in the length of the arms of the asymmetrical lanyard is at least 20cm (8 inches). Changing to asymmetrical lanyards would mean that many operators would be forced to make major adjustments to their systems, and in particular to their life lines. It would also impose limitations on the ergonomic and practical features of the lanyard with arms of uneven lengths. For this reason EDELRID recommends also using the Pilot Bar in this scenario. In combination with the Smart Belay system the risk of strangulation becomes negligible.
Even when supporting a person's full weight (max. 120kg/265lbs), the Pilot Bar holds the lanyard arms at least 20cm (8") apart.
For purposes of clarity and to reduce complexity, EDELRID has created a quick check flow chart to help you, as a park builder/operator, to assess any potential risks. Please note that EDELRID has no direct influence on the design and construction of the course and therefore recommends a thorough re-assessment in close cooperation with the park builder, operator and PPE manufacturer.
Quick check of the strangulation risk involved in using lanyards on high rope courses and in adventure parks
DANGER means that the death of a user can occur resulting from him/her being strangled by the lanyard if the appropriate counter measures are not in place.
EDELRID strongly urges all of its customers to conduct a full and comprehensive strangulation risk assessments. In line with the SISKA safety warning, we recommend using the Pilot Bar even if the static arrangement of the safety line/lanyard/harness is assessed as optimal.
The patent-pending Pilot Bar has been designed and developed for use on the Smart Belay but can possibly also be installed with other lanyards of a similar design.
EDELRID will gladly assist you with a comprehensive assessment and answer any questions you may have in relation to strangulation, lanyards, harnesses and the Pilot Bar.
Your EDELRID team