Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Rescue Harness

Published : 27th May 2010

I found this thread from sometime back but I felt that it was quite relevant today... DW

A bit ago, there was a discussion about safety harnesses to wear when working on what might be dangerous rigs.

I've got a shoot coming up, to which I think it would be wise to add one to my kit. I remember someone suggesting a rescue harness over a safety harness. So I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on where to pick one up. I've got a couple of weeks before the shoot happens.

As always, thanks in advance.


Steven Gladstone
New York Based Cinematographer
Gladstone Films
www.gladstonefilms.com
917-886-5858


Steven Gladstone wrote:

>> I've got a shoot coming up, to which I think it would be wise to add one to my kit. I remember >>someone suggesting a rescue harness over a safety harness.

Are you looking for a harness to be wearing in case you fall, or something to wear so you can be easily extracted. If the former, they're called "full body harnesses".

The latter are often called "rescue harnesses". Fall harnesses usually have the tie-off "D" ring on the back, and are designed for force distribution.. Rescue harnesses have the ring in the front. MSA, Gemtor, and Miller are the big three in harnesses. Lirakis makes very high tech and very comfortable harnesses, but they're two to three times the cost of the others.

If it's for fall protection be sure to get a shock absorbing lanyard.


Large industrial suppliers like McMaster usually have a good selection.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


Brian Heller wrote:

>>Are you looking for a harness to be wearing in case you fall, or something to wear so you can be >>easily extracted.

Going to be in the back of a moving cube, shooting out the back, with the gate open.

I want something better than a rope tied with some knots.

I hope that helps narrow it down.

Thanks for all the help, truly there is a wealth of knowledge on the CML.

Steven Gladstone
New York Based Cinematographer
Gladstone Films
www.gladstonefilms.com
917-886-5858


Then you want something like a "Gunner's Belt" formal designation "Aircrew Restraint Harness".

Google 'aircrew restraint harness' and you should find something that will allow you considerable manoeuvrability, but will keep you in the truck.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>>Are you looking for a harness to be wearing in case you fall, or something to wear so you can be >>easily extracted.

REI. The least costly climbing harness, with or without chest add-on is more than sufficient for
anything you may encounter. I've taken 8-12' falls in an inexpensive harness and they are very
reliable. From personal experience it's what happens after you stop that can bust you up
pretty good, so keep the belay line short enough to stop whatever fall may happen before it starts.

You can wear a harness backwards, if you need to have your connect point behind you.

You can also find 11mm climbing rope at REI, sometimes by the foot. Most 11mm has a UIAA
rating of around 15. UIAA ratings may seem mysterious. What 15 means is the number of
times a 175lb weight can be dropped a distance of 15 ft while other end of the rope is bend over
a 10mm (< 1/2in) diameter bar (simulating a carabineer). BEFORE IT IS CONSIDERED
UNSAFE. It takes forces in excess of 18,000lbs to break an 11mm. Trust me, your hip bones
will break in the harness before this rope does.

In your situation 9mm is overkill. 11mm is for your psyche'. Static or dynamic rope is of no consequence, either. One stops you in an instant, the other stops you a little slower to keep the jolt of a fall to a minimum ... when you have fallen a considerable distance downward. Far further than from the gate of a truck to the ground. You'd never feel the difference in your situation.

There are a number of knots used by climbers to help alleviate the stress that a fall puts on a rope.
You can learn 'em through a Google search, if it helps your cognizant functions during these takes, but all you need is are square knots.

ABSOLUTE KEY here is to keep in mind new and cheap is more reliable than the very best/expensive but used of unknown origin.

Even sunlight can affect the safety of both rope and harness left in the sun long enough.

I stopped climbing when medium difficult moves hurt my knees worse than any harness fall I have ever taken.

Cliff Hancuff
Washington, DC


>>If it's for fall protection be sure to get a shock absorbing lanyard.

I think for Steve's application a shock absorbing lanyard would be ill advised. From my experiences
with dynamic ropes, the more weight you put on them the more they stretch. My experience is that this
is a very VERY spooky experience.

When one looses balance ...

The more off balance you become, the more weight goes on the line.

The more weight that goes on the line, the more the line stretches.

The more it stretches the more off balance you become, which creates more weight, then more stretch ... until  you reach equilibrium.

In reality its only a few inches difference, but that little bit of stretch is strategically timed to suck every
creative juice you brought to the set right out of ya'.

I've always "felt" more secure when my weight  had no affect on a line's "stopping power".  It's only during the conclusion of falls more than a few feet that I was ever grateful to have been on a dynamic rope.

Cliff Hancuff
Washington, DC


>> I think for Steve's application a shock absorbing * lanyard would be ill advised. From my >>experience with dynamic ropes, the more weight you put on them*
>>the more they stretch. My experience is that this* is a _very_ VERY spooky experience.

I'm not questioning your experience, or your explanation of dynamic loading or the elasticity of rope ;

However I wrote "If " Steve's application were for fall protection, then...

If not, then not. Which is why, when he described his application in more detail, I advised him to use a gunner's belt. BTW, a fall protection lanyard is not simply a rope; it contains a shock absorbing system designed to decrease the total fall arresting forces, if a worker should fall from a height.

For a complete explanation of terms, go to :

http://www.osha-slc.gov/Region7/fallprotection/fall_protection_info.html

Someone asked me off list how I came to be familiar with these things. We've had several visits from
OSHA inspectors : ( Since OSHA classifies a height as anything over 6 feet, we have had several
citations from zealous inspectors.

When was the last time anyone in the film business put on a fall protection harness when working on a 10' ladder behind an extended light?


How did you secure the fall protection harness?

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


I presumed in my post this type of lanyard provided equal, or even more elasticity than a dynamic rope. In Steve's circumstance this may not be the best choice.

Protected falls usually happen with less than a foot or two of slack. With a static line, your fall is curtailed immediately. With a dynamic line losing my balance has left me to teeter over an edge, feet planted solid, my body sweeping like the hand of a clock, to be ever so nicely protected from my fall, gently coming to a rest, nicely cantilevered, with my boots several feet above my head, upside-down. The dynamic ropewas at equilibrium, I was not.

This was with zero slack and only about 20ft of dynamic rope between me and my tie off.

I had preferred the "jarring impact" of remaining standing on the edge.

In every fall I've ever taken, with the exception of one, I knew the fall was coming just before began. I remain unaware of a better way to stop, when one's "fall" is less than a foot or two of slack, than suddenly.

Steve, if you need to remain standing for these takes I think you'd be more content with two tie offs, with  your body providing the third "leg" of a tripod. Additionally, with two tie offs you can keep a front connecting harness on forward, letting the tie offs rap around your waist.

I cannot stress enough the difference in confidence you can have in your protection than by trying to
throw yourself off this truck while it's standing still. Be creative in guessing which directions you will go, then toss yourself that way. When a real fall starts ... it's really bad timing for wondering how things will proceed. Rehearsing falls is the only way to get your "mind lock" out of "no falling" gear.

Oh, an another thing ... learn how to tie a figure 8, you'll likely need that knot too. Figure 8's and
square knots are very simple to tie, and are equal to any fancier knots with regard to safety.

Oh! ...... don't forget you're tied in, when it's time to break for lunch. When you’re comfortable in a
harness you can forget it's there. I've done that a couple times.

(Of course if a Chevy Chase prat fall has use in breaking tension on the set ....)

Cliff Hancuff
Washington, DC


>>Figure 8's and square knots are very simple to tie, and are equal to any fancier knots with regard to >>safety.

Being a knot aficionado, I gotta chime in here about square knots..

Please, NEVER use a square knot to tie two lines together, unless they are wrapped around something. This is a great knot to constrict around something, but will easily collapse and fall apart if it is in open space.

Jeff "knot guy" Platt
Embedded electronics for the film industry
Arizona


Jeff Platt wrote:

>> Please, NEVER use a square knot to tie two lines together, unless they are wrapped around >>something. This is a great knot to constrict around something, but will easily  collapse and fall >>apart if it is in open space.

It can also jam under load so it can't be readily untied, and it can spill or upset under manoeuvring.

To this I would add, do not tie-yourself in to any kind of moving vehicle. Do not allow anyone else to tie you in. If you must be attached to a moving vehicle use a quick release safety  belt or harness designed for that purpose.

If the vehicle you are tied into should be involved in a collision, etc., and you are incapacitated or trapped in a burning or sinking vehicle, your chances of being untied are slim. Imagine being doubled over a  rope that is tied around your waist. Sure someone with a sharp knife can cut the rope -- if that someone has a sharp knife and if in his  haste, he only uses the knife on the rope and not you.

In the situation Steve Gladstone described, a wide belt with a front  opening, quick release is the safest way to go.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>>Please, NEVER use a square knot to tie two lines together, unless they are wrapped around >>something. This is a great knot to constrict around something, but will easily collapse and fall >>apart if it is in open space.

I've never had this happen, which is meaningless in any conversation about safety. What causes me to wonder is how this is possible at all with climbing ropes. These ropes' kernmantle (outer most layer) is designed with a number of parameters in mind, including knot holding tenacity.

Even the slightest amount of doubt makes it VERY worth the trouble of learning a fisherman's knot, or even a double fisherman's. They're simple too.

Cliff Hancuff
Washington, DC


>> What causes me to wonder is how this is possible at all with climbing ropes.

Tie a square knot. Hold one end and pull on the other end of the same line. It will collapse into a version of a double half-hitch, and the two lines will slip apart. This could happen if the end of one of the lines catches on something.

Brian's post was to the point.

Jeff Platt
Arizona


>>To this I would add, do not tie-yourself in to any kind of moving vehicle. Do not allow anyone else to >>tie you in. If you must be attached to a moving vehicle use a quick release safety belt or harness >>designed for that purpose.

I LOVE this place. Where else can one get such an amalgamation of such useful information. What one forgets another provides and life experience supplements book learnin'.

For me, carabineers at the harness connect point would be fine. Two, facing in opposite directions is mandatory. Though seriously discouraged for a climb, Steve's falls are likely to be short and not need the extra safety of climbing protocol, tying directly into the harness. Of course, if you're weighted and need to get out of carabineers fast ... you best hope the knife on hand has been recently sharpened. 11mm climbing ropes don't cut easily.

You'll NOT find a quick disconnect device at any climb shop I know of. If I've ever seen one, I've certainly pretended I didn't. The need to become quickly unprotected does not exist in climbing.

Cliff "12C27 "Folder" Packin'" Hancuff
< sigh > Whadda' geek!
Washington, DC


For sobering reading on the catastrophic failure of a Figure Eight climbing knot -- with kernmantle rope:

http://www.safetyaccessrescue.com.au/

http://www.safetyaccessrescue.com.au/news

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


Not to belabor what should be obvious, but ...ANYTHING done incorrectly in climbing is a bad thing.
This figure 8 was tied badly, before the tails were left untied.

Sad story. Thanks for the link.

By now, Steven is probably considering bolting and welding a racing seat to the frame through the bottom of this cube, with a 5 way racing harness (connected low in the back for added deceleration protection), chest plate, lateral head  support, gloves, BRC approved full face helmet (with it's
own ventilation system to prevent co2 buildup), suit meeting FIA & SFI 3.2a/5 standards, ... not to mention restrictor  plate to keep the driver in check.

Cliff Hancuff
Washington, DC


Cliff wrote:

>>By now, Steven is probably considering bolting and welding a racing seat to the frame through the >>bottom of this cube, with a 5 way racing harness (connected low in the back for added deceleration >>protection), chest plate, lateral head support, gloves, BRC approved full face helmet ...

And a HANS device so he can keep his head....

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614


>>,,,I remember someone suggesting a rescue harness over a safety harness. So I'm wondering if >>anyone has any suggestions,,,

The most important thing you can do in a situation like this is to have an experienced Grip. The best harness in the world won't save you from a badly chosen pick-point.

The thing is... If you're taking responsibility for your safety then someone else IS NOT. It's much more prudent to choose someone qualified and trust them to do their job.

Making safe around choppers, boats and vehicles is serious business. It's foolish economy to take over the responsibility for safety without the correct credentials.

David Perrault, CSC


We did some running shots of motor homes out of the back of your cube truck.

For that shoot we rigged a point in the center of the box off of a load bar going across the truck about 6' off the floor and about 6' from the door. We used a standard OSHA safety harness with the D ring on the back and a lanyard to the point. This attachment allowed the operator to move around a bit , kneel down (shooting off a high hat) all with out being able to fall out of the truck. We did use a standard shock lanyard that is not springy but is one use and only goes into shock mode if lots of shock weight were placed on the lanyard.

You need to make sure that the tie off point will hold the weight that you could experience in a fall. Also consider where the attachment point is and where a body will swing if a fall occurred.

Richard Bakos
President
Studio One Inc.
25833 State Road 2
South Bend, In 46619-4736
VOICE 574-232-9084
FAX 574-232-2220
www.StudioOnesb.com