Is there a life limit on the use of climbing equipment?
Check the equipment label!
If doing commercial work there are a whole bunch of requirements
depending on Federal, state, and employer regulations.
The one company where I worked "in a past life" used rather simple but
effective climbing gear. As it was a chemical plant, they replaced them
on a yearly basis. The old ones were destroyed. Those working in most of
the shop departments outweighed me by close to 2:1 or more which meant
their gear did not fit me, Sooo...I brought in my own which was far
better than theirs. The next day I was presented with my very own
climbing equipment with the admonition to never bring in my own safety
gear again.<:-)) I replied I would be happy to comply "as long as they
provided equipment that fit me making it safe for me to use." I wasn't
too worried about reprimands as they were more afraid of what OSHA and
MIOSHA would say.
My full body harness plus fall arrest gear has a label that states
"Designed for a maximum usable life of 5 years". That label also
includes the manufacturing date. Would I use it beyond 5 years? Yes, as:
It's stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment (my shop)
It is not exposed to harmful chemicals while in use of storage.
It is "hung" up on a rack rather then in a pile some where.
It is also protected from "critters"
I've only loaned it to one climber for a day.
I know how its been treated!
AND...it'll only fit up to a 26"waist excluding extras like jackets and
IOW there aren't that many who could wear it anyway.
BTW that "life limit label" is on the inside of the belt between the
belt and wide body support and can not even be seen unless you know
where to look and even then you have to slide the belt through loops and
then roll that section over to even see it.
Can I use it beyond 5 years is more of the question. It will be 5 next
year. I hope I'm still able to use it, but I don't do any where near the
climbing I used to and when I do it takes a good two or three days for
my legs and back to recover. It's not the sore legs from a first climb,
it's from Arthritis and that makes the "next day legs" feel good in
So, yes I know at least my equipment has a life limit "when used in
commercial service" and I'd expect that most others do as well. The
label is not readily visible and is sewn in. It could probably be
removed and it would be difficult to tell if there ever had been one if
the harness is clean and not faded. Never use one that is faded. That
indicates UV or chemical damage.
If you come across a belt where you can see a label has been removed,
put lots of distance between you and it.
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