Stalemate over fall-arrest test dummies
European standards body CEN is refusing to insist on the use of human-like anthropomorphic test dummies (ATDs) as part of its fall-arrest product safety standards, according to UK safety-test laboratory NEL.
Research commissioned by the HSE shows that dangerous aspects of fall-arrest equipment may not be detected if test dummies are not used in tests.
David Riches, an independent consultant with Safety Squared, which carried out the HSE research, said: “Surely it is engineering common sense that a steel weight or sandbag cannot accurately replicate how a person would fall?
“The current EN 353-1 tests assume that when you fall from height you fall straight down, but the human body actually falls away first, before falling downwards. Within the industry it’s hard to see a way out of this impasse. Meanwhile, people run the risk of being seriously or fatally injured.”
Muir Porter, a business manager at NEL, said: “When a new standard is finally agreed, it seems unlikely that ATDs will be required – despite the evidence. When it comes to life-saving fall-arrest equipment, we want CEN to adjust its focus from easing trade barriers to the safety of workers.”
NEL has now been commissioned by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) Height Safety Group to carry out tests that compare the use of dummies against steel masses when testing fall-arrest systems for safety.
Join SHP Online
- ✔ Download free reports and research
- ✔ Access free Digital magazine
- ✔ Email newsletter briefings