More via ferrata sets are recalled

Posted by Dan Middleton on 26/02/2013
More Via Ferrata sets recalled

Following the mass recall of via ferrata sets by a number of different manufacturers last year, further testing has resulted in another round of recalls. This time, owners of rope/brake plate style lanyards are affected.

In August 2012 a via ferrata lanyard set failed unexpectedly leading to a fatal accident. Subsequently, many sets were recalled after tests showed that used lanyards from a number of different manufacturers might not be strong enough to hold a fall.

Further testing has confirmed earlier suspicions that there is a serious aging problem, not just with ‘tear webbing’ VF sets with elasticated lanyards, but also with the traditional rope/brake plate designs.

 The UIAA Safety Commission held an emergency meeting on 6 February to discuss this serious issue, with almost 20 manufacturers in attendance. Following this, a press release was issued on 25 February by manufacturers and the UIAA, announcing recalls and advice for owners of traditional VF sets.

The statement can be found on the UIAA website 

In addition to the recall, new advice has also been issued regarding lifetime and obsolescence of some sets. You can also check with the manufacturer for the latest details about your set to find out whether it is affected by a recall or has had new advice issued regarding its lifetime and obsolescence.

It is expected that the Standard (EN 958) for VF sets will be revised as soon as possible; changes will probably include the following:

  1. All VF sets with elasticated webbing lanyards will have to pass a breaking strength test after being subjected to a cyclic loading regime intended to simulate use.
  2. Non-elastic webbing types will have to be risk assessed, or pass a similar aging test. The recommended energy absorption system (EAS) will be tear webbing.
  3. The breaking strength requirement after the dynamic or drop test will be increased. This ensures a higher residual strength of the lanyard after it has deployed to arrest a fall.
  4. Additional user instructions covering professional or rental use, use by people under 50kg in weight, and advice regarding inspection and retirement. 

Details on last Autumn's recall of sets with elasticated arms can be found here.



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1) Anonymous User
04/03/2013
It's been quite a hell-raiser this one. Rightly so, seeing as it took someone to die, using one of the VF sets - in totally normal & average use - before the gear manufacturers realised they had totally inadequately tested these kits. Scary.

Reading the UIAA's recall list, it strikes me that the manufacturers are pretty much panicking now. They're now even issuing 'lifespans' on these earlier-technology friction-brake alloy/steel sets. (as little as 5 years, even if unused!!!)

You can imagine where this is gonna take us?...

Get ready to be told to dispose of yr 'old' rarely-used heavyweight Figure-of-8 & your sticht-plates. (Do u remember a time when a well-used Fig-of-8 had lovely, deep, smooth grooves worn into them from copious use/wear!?!) Next, be ready to be told all yr karabiners, nuts, hexes & cams are 'not deemed safe' when they're older than 5 yrs old.

....Curmudgeonly frown :(
2) Anonymous User
19/03/2013
I'm shocked manufacturers would be so negligent as to allow such inadequately tested equipment to be sold! I do hope there's a corporate manslaughter case being brought. Makes you wonder about all your other equipment if it takes a fatal accident to highlight what should be obvious flaws.
3) Anonymous User
06/08/2017
I recently wrenched my shoulder badly on a high ropes course when my feet slipped off and I was left hanging by one arm. Instinctively I was trying to prevent my weight coming on the lanyard for fear it would trigger the rip mechanism. I would not have had that concern with an old style friction brake. User behaviour is unpredictable and irrational and cannot always be tested for.

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