ACCT - Advisory Notice for Dual Leg Lanyards

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Please read and share this post regarding an advisory note from ACCT in America. It has been published following an incident on an Adventure Park and we believe the message in the advisory note to be an important reminder to us all and in particular those who operate, design or advise ropes courses and adventure parks.

It was not a single factor (these things very rarely are) and has not yet been fully investigated regarding all possible contributing factors, it only happened recently.

This is not the first time this type of incident and/or accident has happened and we are aware of 3 cases here in the UK on different systems where strangulation has occurred. In two cases they were recovered very quickly. Please note we have been informed only through conversation regarding these incidents. In the other case the person nearly died. Two of these were with a lanyard system that was offset (one longer than the other) to prevent this but without the whole PPE system being designed to work compatibly with each component it has little effect in the prevention of strangulation.

We have read the safety warning from ACCT very carefully and we agree to it being shared. We support ERCA and the ACCT (in fact all other ropes course associations and professional bodies) for sharing safety notices. There is not enough sharing of accidents, incidents and near miss data in our industry, we in Europe and certainly here in the UK are really poor at it and we see the lack of this sharing a major threat to our industry moving forward.

The important point is that it was probably a combination of factors and not a single type of lanyard or individual manufacturers product that was the cause of this, the combination of harness, harness fit, possibly instructor training and checking of the harness fit, safety briefing could be included and of course lanyard type. The message in the safety warning I feel/think reflects this.

The simple offsetting of a double lanyard system is not enough in or of itself to prevent the risk of strangulation should somebody slip or fall with their head between the 2 lanyards or lanyard system. To do so the offset (difference between the lengths of the 2 lanyards) would have to be very big.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ropes courses across Europe for whom this is a critical safety warning and also reminder of when designing their choice of complete customer PPE systems many factors need to be considered. Remembering that the user/customer of the PPE system we provide them with will be unskilled and unaware of such risks. It is our responsibility to manage the risk on their behalf. It would be unreasonable for us to expect them to accept this as their own responsibility when signing to take part.

Please take time to consider your whole PPE system.