Broad (load bearing?) belts for level 1 trips

Belts

Belts are not PPE kit, as such they are not tested and not rated. Hanging on just a belt is going to hurt, or worse! However they are very useful within the context of the Level 1 Mine/Cave Leader. They are also really useful to be quickly converted into a improvised (emergency) harness.

During a Level 1 training course today the question was asked how strong are these belts. So we put a few around a tree, attached a load cell and rope to the belt with an oval krab and pulled like hell!

Three belts were pulled to over 3 kN and none (not even a really old belt) failed, nor showed any sign of damage.

So what does that mean; a harness is tested to hold a static load of 15kN, so these ad-hoc tests don’t come anywhere close to that! However HSE suggests (HSL/2003/09) that adult (80kg-100kg) workers at hight should not be subjected to a impact (fall into a harness) of more than 6kN (4kN for smaller bodies in the 50kg-80kg range and 8kN for larger people in the 100kg-140kg range). It would be nice to pull a selection of belts to around 6kN and hold them for at least a minute or two (the climbing harness standard is to hold them for 2mins), and check for any damage or slippage in the buckle, however this little bit of testing does give some confidence in the strength of these broad belts for use in Level 1 Caves or Mines.

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