Author Topic: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?  (Read 889 times)

Online wellyjen

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Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« on: July 27, 2020, 12:44:08 pm »
A search doesn't seem to pick up this subject since around 2007, so I thought I'd ask.
Has anyone looked in to using rope access, or linesman helmets for caving, instead of the climbing ones that are more common? Prices, compared with mountaineering helmets are a bit cheaper for rope access ones, eg https://www.screwfix.com/p/jsp-evolite-skyworker-industrial-height-safety-helmet-white/8960f and a lot cheaper for linesman ones, eg https://www.screwfix.com/p/delta-plus-granite-peak-linesman-helmet-white/8909r . They have multi point suspension cradles, some protection from things falling on your head and you falling off things. Little to no brim to interfere with upwards vision. Not sure that insulation against 1500VDC is much use in caving. My guess is that a linesmans helmet is going to be closer to a normal "site" helmet in terms of protection, but less likely to fall off and a rope access one not far off a climbing helmet. Am I right?

I've not used these in any sort of work situation, so am not familiar with how they are to wear. I am also not familiar with the standards these use, and how they compare with climbing helmet standards. Are they are practical option for caving? Do we just carry on using climbing ones because we think the price is worth it for protecting what goes underneath?

My first caving helmet was a typical building site one with a home made chin strap and bracket to attach the stinky! The next was another builders, but with a 3 point strap, followed by a Joe Brown climbing helmet and Petzl carbide lamp, followed by various Petzl lids.

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Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« on: July 27, 2020, 12:44:08 pm »
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Offline Fjell

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 02:04:42 pm »
The first one is tested to EN 12492, which is the mountaineering standard, and it does look OK. It looks little different to some of the Petzl helmets but with no light fixings.

The second is EN 397 which is industrial. There are a lot of E397 helmets and are cheap. Some in fetching colours. I doubt anyone is going to die because they didn’t have a EN 12492 helmet instead.

I find some of Petzl offerings post-Ecrin to be not so great for fit for some reason on a range of heads. I am a bit paranoid about the hemet falling off my head and there being no cable or gas pipe. Must be age.

If you are attaching something as heavy as a Scurion I would get an Ecrin off Ebay. It won’t be older than anyone elses....

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Petzl-Ecrin-Roc-Helmet-White-Rock-Climbing-Gear-Equipment/313157345240?hash=item48e9a1dfd8:g:VQkAAOSwFKtfGKcF

Online pwhole

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 02:15:18 pm »
I certainly wouldn't use anything that cheap for rope-access! So I even more certainly wouldn't use one for caving, which is far more risky than rope-access in terms of head knocks. I loved the review quote - I wonder how he knows, given he thinks that's pricey? Maybe he deliberately hit his head onto a RSJ to see what happened:

Quote
" Bit pricey for what it is but does what it says on the tin! "

If it's tested to EN 397 then I guess it 'should' be OK, but it seems so cheap I have to wonder where else they've skimped on the product to keep it that low. Maybe skimped on the assembly staff! I'd trust JSP more. I know Petzl helmets are at the pricey end but have you looked at KASK? They're still more than the JSP ones but I've used them for work and they're light and comfortable:

https://www.kask-safety.com/en/safety-helmets.htm

Offline Mark Wright

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 05:47:26 pm »
Helmet standards can be a little confusing.

EN397 helmets, more commonly known as building site helmets, undergo a simple test where a weight of a certain shape is dropped directly onto the top of the helmet. An EN397 helmet would offer little or no protection in a fall as it would probably just fall off your head!

EN12492 helmets, more commonly known as mountaineering helmets, have a heavier weight of a different shape dropped from a larger distance onto the top, front, back and both sides, as a large mountaineering type fall could result in impacts from any direction.

There is no requirement for an EN397 helmet to have a chin strap but, if it does have a chin strap, it has to break or come undone at no more than 25kg of force. This comes in part from the old mining industry requirements. If you were riding a conveyor belt to get in and out of a coal mine and you got your helmet and/or headlamp caught on the roof as you were moving along it could choke you if it was a high strength chin strap.

An EN12492 helmet has a 50kg chin strap which should ensure it stays on your head if you took a large mountaineering or rope access type fall.

Most, if not all, EN12492 mountaineering helmets have air vents for ventilation purposes. This would not pass the EN397 standard as it would be possible for, e.g. weld splatter or similar to penetrate the vents if someone was welding or burning above you. Having said that, a risk assessment should conclude that it would be too dangerous to be working below someone carrying out such an operation.   

Petzl made things a little confusing when they first introduced the Ecrin Best as it was a hybrid of the two standards. No vents so you could use it on a building site, but a 50kg chin strap and a larger clearance distance between the cradle and the shell for taking large falls.

The Ecrin ST was the building site only version which had a 25kg chin strap. The ST was the one you could purchase with an aluminium lamp bracket already attached.

The new range of Petzl industrial helmets have no vents and come with the standard 50kg chin strap buckle on one side of the cradle assembly and on the opposite side of the cradle, an arrangement where, with a small screwdriver, you can choose the 25kg for building site work or the 50kg for taking large falls. They are in the 50kg position when you buy them.

Most helmets would pass the electrical conductivity test if there were no metal components in the assembly.

It isn't clear how the Screwfix helmet meets both standards in respect of the chin strap strength. In reality it probably doesn't but the description is worded in such a way that it defines what element of each standard it conforms to. The description for the Ecrin Best was similarly worded.

Like Fjell, I was never impressed with the Alveo (no longer manufactured) or original Vertex as I found them a bit too flimsy. The new ones have been beefed up considerably. The main reason Petzl changed the design was so they would accept ear defenders and all the other helmet accessories they sell. The Ecrin helmets wouldn't sit on your head properly with ear defenders attached.

I remember working on a large construction site back in the 90's and the safety officer made us wear a standard building site helmet while walking round the site and allowed us to wear a mountaineering helmet when we were carrying out rope access works!

I use a Kask Super Plasma mountaineering helmet for the type of work I carry out and an old Ecrin Roc with a Scurion attached for caving. The 10 year life expectancy of helmets is due to the possible UV degradation that could occur which isn't really an issue in a cave. If you were using it in the workplace, e.g. instructed caving, then you should really replace the helmet when it is 10 years old.

When I used to do a lot of cave diving in the 1980's I usually wore a simple canoeing helmet which were very lightweight but would never pass any of the tests for industry or mountaineering. The only disadvantage for normal caving was your fags got wet when you walked underneath a waterfall!!

You usually get what you pay for and I don't think I would be choosing a safety helmet from Screwfix even if it was half the price of a Petzl helmet.

Mark   

 

 


Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 06:27:17 pm »

in the 1980's I usually wore a simple canoeing helmet which were very lightweight but would never pass any of the tests for industry or mountaineering. The only disadvantage for normal caving was your fags got wet when you walked underneath a waterfall!!


Surely that's an advantage for the rest of us . . .    ;)  :thumbsup:

Online wellyjen

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 06:50:12 pm »
Thanks everyone for some very comprehensive and informative replies. Looks like, as usual, you get what you pay for. In the absence of a caving specific helmet, tiny market, no agreed standard, mountaineering ones still seem to be the ones to go for.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2020, 07:22:04 pm »
Sorry Mark - I just couldn't resist that one!

I still use canoe helmets (for obvious reasons) - but generally not in situations where anything's likely to fall on me (i.e. only in horizontal caves). I remember once going to a presentation on motorcycle safety which focussed on helmets; it made me cautious ever since.

By the way, thanks for you advice above.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 07:35:15 pm by Pitlamp »

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 09:00:19 pm »

in the 1980's I usually wore a simple canoeing helmet which were very lightweight but would never pass any of the tests for industry or mountaineering. The only disadvantage for normal caving was your fags got wet when you walked underneath a waterfall!!


Surely that's an advantage for the rest of us . . .    ;)  :thumbsup:

That's why God invented small Tupperware boxes ;)

Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2020, 09:15:34 pm »
Thanks everyone for some very comprehensive and informative replies. Looks like, as usual, you get what you pay for. In the absence of a caving specific helmet, tiny market, no agreed standard, mountaineering ones still seem to be the ones to go for.
For what it’s worth, the new Petzl Vertex is an excellent helmet. I’ve not taken mine underground yet, but can’t see why it wouldn’t be good (apart from being slightly bulky). I’ve not seen anybody using those cheap screwfix helmets for work at height - pretty confident they’d be shit though!

Online mikem

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2020, 10:24:29 pm »
If you think that's cheap, a strapless version comes in at less than the postage! It's partly to do with producing so many more than Mountaineering companies. (However, the most important thing is whether it fits properly):
https://www.buybrandtools.com/acatalog/hard-hats.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_u-9jq7u6gIVibPtCh2CNw-NEAAYASAFEgInUPD_BwE

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2020, 10:26:06 pm »
I believe the newer Petzl helmets, such as the Boreo, have significantly improved side and rear impact protection (above and beyond the mountaineering standard, which only tests angled strikes?). This was something Metolius was going on about for years (protection from you falling, rather than something falling on you).

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 10:29:59 pm »
Some climbing helmets are designed as single use items (the helmet is damaged by the impact & thus absorbs the force rather than your head) - these aren't particularly suitable for caving.

Offline Mark Wright

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2020, 11:15:52 pm »
Some climbing helmets are designed as single use items (the helmet is damaged by the impact & thus absorbs the force rather than your head) - these aren't particularly suitable for caving.

All climbing helmets are designed to help absorb the force of an impact rather than your head and should be removed from service if they suffer any sort of impact so are all effectively single use (abuse) items.

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Online mikem

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2020, 07:00:04 am »
Whilst that is true, it's not the whole story - from:
https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/climbing/best-climbing-helmet/buying-advice
Quote
EPS — Expanded Polystyrene
EPS is the most common type of foam found in climbing helmets. EPS is the same stuff that packaging peanuts and Styrofoam coolers are made of, although the stuff in your helmet is of a much higher grade. The density of EPS is "tunable" for absorbing harder or softer impacts. EPS can only absorb one hard impact before it needs to be retired; while it may rebound in shape slightly over time, the energy transmitting properties of the foam expire during one impact event. Most often it will crack and break when it takes a direct hit, so there will be no debate in your mind about whether the helmet is still usable or not. In climbing helmets, EPS is usually covered in some form of plastic shell to protect it from "softer" impacts, which may ruin its ability to absorb the truly meaningful "hard" impact against which it would otherwise protect. Although this article talks more about EPS regarding biking helmets, we still found it very informative for understanding what is happening when your EPS helmet takes a blow. https://helmets.org/liners.htm
*Can be tuned to absorb hard impacts such as falling rocks or ice
*Cheaper to produce than EPP, leading to less expensive helmets
*Lightweight
*Can be paired with additives like polycarbonate (shell) or Kevlar (internal) to add structure and strength
*Can only absorb one hard impact before crushing out, or cracking, and becoming useless
Examples: Black Diamond Vapor, Black Diamond Vector, Petzl Meteor, Camp USA Storm, Singing Rock Penta, Black Diamond Half Dome, Mammut Skywalker 2
Foam helmets are not as durable as hardshells (which is generally what we want for caving).
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 07:12:27 am by mikem »

Online wellyjen

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2020, 08:24:04 am »
Over time, the number of hard shell helmets is going down and the proportion based on foam with a thin outer shell is going up. It used to be that a hard shell helmet relied on the stretch of the cradle inside to protect your head during an impact and that is going to be most effective against a blow to the top of the head. I can see that it is easier to design a foam based helmet to absorb impacts from many directions. A hard shell helmet cradle is more likely to struggle with side, front and rear impacts. I am guessing a lot of the development came from push bike helmets, where top impacts are going to be rare. Most are going to be side, front and rear, depending on how the rider falls and what they hit on the way.
A pity for caving as a good hard shell cradle helmet is much easier to rig for lamp brackets and battery boxes, even if that did instantly invalidate the warrantee. If you use a helmet manufacturers helmet light mounts you risk getting locked in to their lights too.

Jen
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Online mikem

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2020, 08:54:49 am »
Many climbing helmets are now a combination of hardshell & foam, to take advantage of the properties of both. Cycling helmets are also designed for heaviest impacts on the top, as the most dangerous crash is where you go over the handlebars head first...

(See also lightweight helmet discussion)

Offline topcat

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2020, 09:17:33 am »
That doesn't make sense.   I've been over the bars more times than I can count but never come close to landing on top of my head.   But I have written off three helmets from side impact.   And in all the years supporting downhill mtb races and witnessing hundreds of crashes, never seen anyone else land like that either.

My concern with a lot of climbing helmets these days is that the (too) many vents  which are also too big will allow small stones through.  A small stone at terminal velocity is not what you want to encounter, but is common enough on mountain routes.  And at the bottom of some big srt pitches.

Online mikem

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2020, 09:33:41 am »
It tends to be a problem in collisions with other vehicles or trees / walls (& more on road bikes, due to different body position), where they are at a similar height, rather than hitting the ground.

Older helmets obviously had a cradle, which allows plenty of ventilation, but modern ones are tending more to being filled with foam - unfortunately your brain doesn't cope very well with increases in temperature, so they have to allow air flow - you'd be very unlucky if a small stone fell perfectly through one of the holes, but it could happen, so choose what's most appropriate for you.

Offline Eds

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Re: Rope Access / Linesman Helmets?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2020, 08:53:57 am »
Some helmets have mesh over the holes to help protect against small objects. The CT Stark is an example.

EN397 helmets also have to withstand an impact from a pointed weight although this is only on the top.

 

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