Latest information on Back-up Devices for Rope Access
Since Petzl’s last statement on the use of the B03 Petzl Shunt while towed by a cord as a back-up device in rope access (Click here to read the Petzl Shunt statement and here for the IRATA Shunt statement) we have been getting a lot enquiries asking what can be used in it’s place, so here are the most popular alternatives:
B71 Petzl ASAP. Made by Petzl, comes complete with OK Triact Karabiner, it travels up and down the rope with no contact from the operator. As it’s a toothed device ordinarily used with a shock absorbing lanyard. There are three types of lanyard available: L7120 ASAP’Sorber 20cm, L7140 ASAP Sorber 40cm and the L57 Absorbica. The Absorbica is the only one of these lanyards rated for more than one person (i.e. for use in rescue). It is great on inclines as well as vertically tensioned ropes and will lock up when it starts to descend quickly even if the operator has hold of it.
RA003 Rocker. A SAR product. Also made under licence by ISC for Miller and P+P. A simple and effective device which fits easily onto the rope and is used with a short lanyard. The S0014 Rocker Lanyard Assembly is the recommended lanyard but SAR do say that any rated quickdraw with the correct locking karabiners will suffice. It tends to travel freely up and down the rope and can be used on diagonal, horizontal and vertically tensioned lifelines. The operator must let go if holding this device when mainline failure occurs. It can be locked in position on the rope using a simple catch at the top of the device. Locking it in this manner allows the user to position it as high up their back-up rope as possible thus limiting the fall distance in the event of a main line failure. The device is rated for two people (i.e. for use in rescue) and can easily be released when under load.
The ISC RED has recently been released onto the market and can be bought with no cord, with a fixed tow cord or with a tow cord and ‘Popper’ (the latter relying on the user pulling the tow cord to release the popper in the event of a mainline failure). The body of the RED in each version is the same so if you buy the Popper Version then this towcord can be removed completely or can be replaced by a towcord without a popper. All version of the RED are designed to be used with a dynamic cowstail from the waist attachment point of your harness and are tested for use in a rescue situation (for a two person load).
On the horizon is also the DMM Buddy Catch (a ‘Buddy’ with a ‘catch’ – their Buddy device with a tow ‘cord’). The prototype has a release system which relies on the operator squeezing a trigger in the event of a main line failure).
All of the above are / will be available from our website. If you know of another back-up device of interest then please contact us with details.