The UIAA Safety Commission adopted its first-ever safety standard for braking devices which went into effect July 1st, 2011. The standard lays out performance parameters and testing procedures for four kinds of belaying and abseiling devices: manual, locking-assisted, abseiling devices and abseiling devices with a panic function. Manufacturers meeting the standard will be able to display the UIAA Safety Label on their braking devices.
The requirements set forth in the standard are based on the forces that can develop during fall arrest with the use of dynamic ropes. Requirements vary according to device classification, which includes manual devices (i.e. tube or plate devices), locking assist devices (Gri-Gri®) and devices with a panic function (Eddy®). All classifications require a strength test to demonstrate that neither the device nor the rope are compromised during braking, and both the locking assist and panic function devices must also be tested for rope slippage.
Petzl’s GriGri2 and four pieces of equipment from Black Diamond have become the first braking devices to be certified by the UIAA and can now bear the UIAA Safety Label. The Black Diamond devices are: ATC, ATC-Guide, ATC-XP, ATC-Sport. Other belay/rappel devices are in the process of being tested for compliance with this standard.
Organizations that require the UIAA safety label for climbing equipment, can use the UIAA certified equipment web search function to determine which belay/rappel devices have valid safety labels. More information www.theuiaa.org/news_174_First-ever-safety-standard-for-braking-devices.