Safety label is expanding


The UIAA is developing a new safety standard for abseiling and belaying devices which will be published in 2009. More than 15 manufacturers of braking devices were present at the UIAA Safety Commission Meeting in Prague from September 22-26, where decisions were made on the testing of equipment.

The commission expects many new label holders when this standard is published.

“The UIAA Safety Label is today the worldwide reference for mountaineering and climbing safety equipment,” said Jean-Franck Charlet, UIAA Safety Commission President. More than 50 manufacturers, representing nearly 1,800 products, have been approved to use the label. The number of label holders is increasing worldwide and many new manufacturers from countries such as the United States, China, Brazil, Russia and the Ukraine are applying to be approved.

By the end of the year, all of the UIAA Safety Standards will be updated. One important adjustment is the improvement of testing methods for harnesses, based on reviews of accidents. The changes will mainly take into account the consequences of head first falls.

Revisions will also be made to the standard for Energy Absorbing Systems for Via Ferrata. Among the changes is the addition of a dynamic test in wet conditions.

The Commission has developed recommendations for how climbers should inspect their own equipment, and when they should retire it. These recommendations, based on the work of French delegates, will soon be published on the UIAA website.

Other new developments discussed at the meeting were a test method for the efficiency of anti-balling systems for crampons, tests and requirements for bouldering mats and a new UIAA standard for attaching crampons to mountaineering boots.

The next plenary session of the UIAA Safety Label will be held in May 2009 in Golden, Colorado in the United States.