Setting a good anchor is the most important part of any rope access or fall protection system. There are many ways to make an anchor and here’s a few of the ways that I like to take out into the field, along with the most common gear to make these systems. Most of my time at height is spent using non-certified anchors on structural I beams doing a variety of things from installing banners, motors, blackout curtains or applying a fresh coat of paint. Accessing these areas can be tricky and certainly takes a certain skill and aptitude along with the proper training, equipment and supervision.
A few words about rigging humans. They can be somewhat unpredictable. They like to move. They’re going to have to stretch and push and bend at unexpected times. Pay close attention to compatibility and keep a conversation running about the gear and the challenges encountered throughout the day. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Things to keep in mind
Here’s what anchors SHALL do:
REGULATION: OSHA 1910 Subpart D 1910.27 (b) (1)
5,000 lbf. (22.2kN) In any direction for each employee attached
Here’s what anchors SHOULD do:
STANDARD: SPRAT Safe Practices for Rope Access Work
2,698 lbf. (12kN) or 2x the maximum arrest force of backup device
STANDARD: ANSI Z359.2 Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program
No less than 5,000 lbf. (22.2kN)
OSHA/ANSI supersedes in this situation so let’s go with 5,000 lbf. These are the minimum performance requirements meaning this is what they HAVE to do. If you can make it better, why not?
Preferred Equipment Characteristics for Rigging: Steel, ANSI stamp, good abrasion resistance and flexible.
Strength: Is this anchor unquestionably strong? Is it structural? How will it react to a shock load?
Location: Is it located directly overhead? How will location affect angles and loads on the system? What is the fall path? Is the rigging in a safe zone?
Compatability: Is it possible to side load any connectors? Is the system flexible and accommodates the range of direction of pull? How will connectors and anchorage connectors react together during a shock load? What happens with repeated loading and unloading of the system? Is the rigging clean?
There’s a few regulars I keep in my cache of gear and that usually make most trips. I typically try to use ANSI certified products as much as possible but it doesn’t always happen. ANSI is the most widely recognized certifying body in North America.
- ClimbTech Bantam Beam Slider
- ClimbTech Vertical/Fixed Beam Clamp
- ClimbTech Wire Rope Sling
- Bluewater Rhino Dual Layered Sling
- Yates Armor Tech Rope Sling (Technora)
- Petzl Grillon 3M
- Kong Rally
- Petzl Paw M
- Petzl Vulcan
- Petzl Oxan
- Sterling HTP 7/16″
- Sterling WorkPro 7/16”
- Sterling Tech 11 11mm
- Knots: Figure 8, Figure 9, Alpine Butterfly, Barrel on a bight
- Petzl I’d S
Link to Trevor’s Website:
Also by Trevor:
Join TheatreArtLife to access unlimited articles, our global career center, discussion forums, and professional development resource guide. Your investment will help us continue to ignite connections across the globe in live entertainment and build this community for industry professionals. Learn more about our subscription plans.
Love to write or have something to say? Become a contributor with TheatreArtLife. Join our community of industry leaders working in artistic, creative, and technical roles across the globe. Visit our CONTRIBUTE page to learn more or submit an article.