Rope Access Harness Incident

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Average: 4.2 (6 votes)
Alert ID: 
Description of Process: 

Using rope access for job within the inside the utility leg platform.

All work conducted on night shift.

Description of Incident: 
On day 14-to-15 the work party technician noticed at the end of the shift  that his harness was badly damaged.
It was reported on site to the client and a 'Time Out for Safety' was called.
It was then discussed on the following shift via the Toolbox Talk.


Based on witness statements, the harness became damaged by continual rubbing against the rough concrete wall of the leg. 

The root cause of this incident comes down to failure to identify the hazard (tight access and abrasive concrete wall) and failure to consider that the harness may rub against the wall (job planning and risk identification). 


There were occasions when the hazard could have been identified by parties involved:

•The incident was reported on site and witnesses state that the remedial control measures implemented were adequate and no further action was required.
•All relevant personnel had seen the area where work was to be conducted but the tight access was not identified.
•Onshore documentation of work party did not highlight the restricted access to any degree. Technicians did not raise any concerns about the on site risk assessment in the 34 days prior
•The permit does not take into account specific hazards relating to the abrasive capacity of the wall or entry / descent into the work site
Good Practice Guidance: 

Recommend regular site surveys

Better hazard awareness and understanding by all

Pre-use equipment checks before each shift

Regular communication with all staff involved

Causes and consequences of incident or accident: 
Fall from height
Failure of PPE/RPE
Contributing factor: 


Can you confirm if the damage to the harness was sustained over one shift? or had there been no visual checks to the equipment on previous days?   

I have a response to this from the company who submitted the alert:

“We cannot confirm that as there was no formal written check sheets for the pre-use checks on the equipment, although we do have confirmation that visual checks were completed during the course of the project. We also engaged with some rope access specialists during the course of our investigation and we received conflicting reports; some reported that it would have been possible to have occurred over one shift and others disagreed. We believe that it is likely that this occurred over the duration of one shift.”


Step Change support team