Know Your Rope

The improper use of rope may be dangerous!

  • Do not overload rope
  • Avoid shock loading rope whenever possible
  • Do not use rope in applications beyond the heat rating of the rope
  • Be sure to use the correct size rope for the job
  • Avoid any area around the linear length of loaded rope
  • Keep rope away from all chemicals to prolong safe working life
  • It is the user's responsibility to use rope in a safe manner!!!

Important Information on Rope

Due to variations in rope applications, rope conditions, environmental factors and the degree of risk to life or property damage, it is not realistic to make specific recommendations as to the exact loads any given rope can handle.

It is the users' responsibility to completely understand the safe use and operation of a rope used for any specific or general task. The user needs to be aware of all environmental, load or other variable factors that affect the safe use of rope. Failure to do so can cause severe personal injury or death as well as property and/or environmental damage. The user of this rope assumes all such risks.

In addition, any safety training or skill training required for the safe use of rope in any capacity is the sole responsibility of the user.

Applying a Load to Rope

When weight is applied to rope, various factors come into play. These factors dictate whether it is a dynamic load or a static load.

Dynamic Loads:

impart varying amounts of weight on the rope, for example, a load that drops or a load that swings. This movement can greatly increase the force placed on a rope, in some cases 2 to 5 times the weight of the item. It is crucial that the correct type of rope is chosen for these applications.

Static Loads:

impart a consistent weight on the rope, for example, a rope holding a single weighted item. Static loads can also be briefly subject to dynamic loads. Being aware of lifting or pulling factors is crucial to maintaining a safe working environment.

Note for Exercise Climbing Ropes

Ropes popular for climbing (like the manila or nylon 3-strand ropes) are often tied or secured to horizontal surfaces like tree branches or interior steel beams, to create a vertical climbing rope. This attachment point must be inspected prior to each climb to ensure it is a safe and intact. Any knots or splices on the rope are subject to wear or environmental deterioration. Be sure to inspect these areas for any hazardous conditions that could create an unsafe attachment point.

Note for Arborist Climbing Ropes

Working at height for both professional and recreational tree climbing requires specific training. DO NOT attempt this activity without proper training and guidance from an experienced professional in this industry.

Be sure to know and understand the effects of dynamic and static loading on the ropes being used. Rope under tension can hold tremendous amounts of energy. DO NOT stand near a rope under tension as an unexpected break can result in severe personal and/or property damage, or death.

Working Loads

In a broad generalization, most working loads vary from 1/10 to 1/4 of the average break strength of the rope. Applications for rope used in life support or personal fall protection environments must use the 1/10 ratio.

Knots & Splices

Wherever possible, use splices constructed to safe specifications. A proper splice on a rope can maintain 80% to 100% of the new rope average break strength. Trained personnel should construct all splices. If knots are used on a rope, be aware that they can reduce the rope's strength by up to 50%. If knots are required, be sure to select the proper knot for the job.

Storage of Rope

Natural fiber ropes should be stored in a clean, dry place to maximize their safe working life. Long term storage of synthetic ropes should also be in a cool, dry place. 3-Strand ropes should be coiled or spooled and braided products can be flaked or coiled in a bag or box if desired.

Rope Strengths

All rope has a rating referred to as a "tensile strength" or "average break strength." This number is the amount of weight that the rope should be able to hold in ideal conditions, specifically, a new rope, with no knots or splices, at room temperature. These break strength numbers are based on actual destructive break testing by the manufacturer or a certified third party testing facility. Ropes are tested over many cycles and the average break strength is determined and specified for the product.

Rope wear, knots, extreme hot or cold temperatures, chemicals, the manner in which the load is applied and other factors will result in a break strength lower than the stated average break strength.

A rope with a stated or advertised break strength, in pounds will not necessarily safely hold something that weighs that amount! Refer to the SAFE WORKING LOAD of a specific rope for more information.