How Long Can I Use My Equipment?

How Long Can I Use My Equipment?

Equipment Lifespan

Osha does not issue statements regarding lifespans of gear. The industry standards are as follows:

Daily climbing 2-3 years
Occasional climbing 5 years
New in package 10 years

The probability of having wear and tear on a piece of life safety equipment that takes it out of service generally follows these guidelines. You must also follow manufacture recommendations. Some harnesses (Miller for example) have expiration tags. Everyone should have a ANSI Z359  2007 tag on their harness.

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I also asked a gear retailer for their feedback and received this:

Different industries have some guidelines for this. Window cleaners for example are supposed to retire rope either 3 years after it was put into service or five years after manufacture date according to the I14 standard. New England Ropes on the other hand recommends that you use their rope for up to 10 years.

If you are inspecting regularly, there isn’t really a problem. Synthetic materials don’t really degrade and have performance problems except through abuse and wear and tear. There are a few studies that showed synthetic products performed up to spec years after manufacture. Black Diamond tested some quick draws that had been left out in the elements for several years. They tested up to spec, though some of the carabiner gates weren’t closing easily. Blue Water tested some rope that had been sitting in a box for a long time ( 10 years ? ), and it tested fine.

Thoughts out there from anyone?

Kevin Carter


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