Blog

Via Ferrata 2018 Lanyard Standards

In 2017 the international standard for energy absorbing via ferrata lanyards EN 958:2011 was replaced by a new standard EN 958:2017. The new standard addresses concerns that the energy absorbing lanyards on via ferratas as specified by the old standard did not offer sufficient protection and shock absorption in the event of a fall.
The new standard concerns the performance of the energy absorbing lanyard. Should a fall occur, this lanyard ruptures and protects against serious injury to the person falling by reducing the impact force at the end of the fall to a maximum of 6 Kn (Kilonewtons). This is equivalent to 600kg. This should be compared with the potential impact force if climbing without the energy absorption when a fall of 3 m could result in impact forces of 20 kN (2 tonnes) which could cause catastrophic failure of the belay loop of the harness and anchor points resulting in serious injury.
 

The 2011 Standard
The earlier standard was designed for users weighing 80 kg and manufacturers had to specify a maximum user weight that could be used without ripping apart the lanyard.
Studies carried out over the last few years have shown that the old standard, based as it was on people weighing 80 kg, did not protect users weighing 50 kg or less, since the lighter weight was insufficient to cause rapid rupturing of the lanyard and energy absorption. The failure of the lanyard to rupture fast enough or only partially caused these lighter users to experience higher impacts and increased risk of injury.

The 2017 Standard
The new standard is designed to cover users weighing between 40-120 kg with a maximum impact force of 6 Kn. Users under 40 kg are not included in the new standard, but the  maximum recommended impact force for these lighter users has been reduced to 3.5 kN.
The new standard therefore covers most users weighing 40-120 kg with clothing and equipment. For children and other lightweight users we recommend that an additional safety line using a top rope is used with the partner providing additional safety. Before taking children on via ferrata routes it is essential that the supervising adults have the rope handling experience to properly protect lighter users. 

Manufacturers have been working on higher performance lanyards over the last few years to meet the new standard. In order to achieve the shock absorbance requirements of the new standard the permitted braking distance has been increased from 120 cm to 220 cm. This is the only way of absorbing the energy when a user weighing 120 kilos falls a distance of five metres.
The new lanyards will be heavier and more bulky as a result, but this is a small price to pay for increased safety.

Can I still use lanyards with the old standard?
Yes, if you have a lanyard that complies to the old standard then you can still safely use it, unless you are particularly light, or heavy, in which case the new models with the new norm will offer increased protection. Shops can sell lanyards with the old standard until 2019, and you can safely use your existing lanyards until they have reached the end of their serviceable life.

All the lanyards we sell conform to the latest 2017 standard:

Camp Kinetic Rewind Pro
Camp Kinetic Rewind
Camp Kinetic
Edelrid Cable Kit Ultralite 5.0
Edelrid Cable Kit 5.0
Edelrid Cable Comfort 5.0
Petzl Scorpio Easihook
Petzl Scorpio Vertigo
Edelrid Cable Kit Lite 5.0

           
 

Neil

Neil started skiing in the Scotland when he hired lightweight tele gear and skied Cairngorm to Ben Macdhui. He was bitten and not by the midges! Th ...

Save 10% on all Via Ferrata lanyards with Code VF10!!