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G32.4(1) Rope replacement

Guidelines Part 32 - Evacuation and rescue

G32.4(1) Rope replacement

Issued September 21, 2012

Regulatory excerpt
Section 32.4(1) of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

(1) Ropes and associated rigging equipment used only for rescue or evacuation or training in such procedures must

(a) be of low stretch (static) kernmantle construction or equivalent,

(b) when new, have a minimum safety factor of 10 to 1, based upon a one-person load of 140 kilograms (300 pounds), and

(c) be replaced at intervals stated by the manufacturer, but not exceeding 5 years.

Section 32.5 of the Regulation states:

(1) Ropes and associated equipment must be inspected visually and physically by qualified workers after each use for rescue, evacuation or training purposes.

(2) Equipment must not be used after it

(a) has been overstressed,

(b) has been subject to temperatures above 150°C (300°F), or

(c) shows significant damage due to contact with chemicals or due to any other cause.

Section 32.6 of the Regulation states, in part:

(2) Maintenance records must be kept, including but not limited to

(c) the date put into service,

(3) Maintenance records must be available upon request to any worker concerned with the safe operation of the equipment or to an officer.

Section 4.3 of the Regulation states, in part:

(2) Unless otherwise specified by this Regulation, the installation, inspection, testing, repair and maintenance of a tool, machine or piece of equipment must be carried out

(a) in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and any standard the tool, machine or piece of equipment is required to meet, or

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to clarify when rope needs to be replaced and the application of 32.4(1)(a) and (c) to associated rigging.

Associated rigging
The low stretch (static) kernmantle construction requirement of section 32.4(1)(a) and the five year replacement requirement of section 32.4(1)(c) do not apply to metallic rigging components such as carabiners. If a component has both textile and metallic parts only the textile components are subject to the minimum five year replacement interval. If the manufacturer of any rigging component specifies replacement intervals more frequent than the Regulation, section 4.3(2)(d) of the Regulation requires that they be followed.

The factor of safety requirements of 32.4(1)(b) apply to all associated rigging.

Rope replacement
The age of a rope is the time from when it was first put into service. A rescue rope is considered to be "in service" if it is available for use in life safety applications. Rescue ropes need to be replaced five years after they are put into service. The date put into service needs to be recorded in the maintenance records for the rope (the "rope log"). Manufacturer and user group test results on old ropes indicate that rope does not age until it is first put into service.

A rope may need to be replaced before it is five years old based on the results of an inspection. Most manufacturers provide inspection criteria. If inspection criteria are provided section 4.3(2)(d) of the Regulation requires they be used. If a rope does not pass inspection because of wear or damage it needs to be replaced, even if it is not five years old.

Section 32.4(1)(c) requires that if a manufacturer recommends replacing ropes more frequently than every five years, their recommendations must be followed.

Disclaimer: The Workers' Compensation Board of B.C. (WorkSafeBC) publishes the online versions of the Workers Compensation Act (Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (Regulation) in accordance with its mandate under the Act to provide information and promote public awareness of occupational health and safety matters. The online Act and Regulation are not the official versions, which may be purchased from Crown Publications. WorkSafeBC endeavours to update the online Act and Regulation as soon as possible following any legislative amendments. However, WorkSafeBC does not warrant the accuracy or the completeness of the online Act or Regulation, and neither WorkSafeBC nor its board of directors, employees or agents shall be liable to any person for any loss or damage of any nature, whether arising out of negligence or otherwise, arising from the use of the online versions. Employers are legally obligated to make a copy of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation readily available for review by workers. The circumstances under which WorkSafeBC may consider an employer's providing access to electronic versions of the Act and Regulation to have satisfied this obligation are described in OHS guideline G-P2-21(2)(f).