EN 362: Personal protective equipment against falls from a height – Connectors
EN 362:2004 describes the requirements, test methods, marking, manufacturer information, and packaging specification that must be supplied by manufacturer for connectors. Connectors in conformance with this European Standard are used as joining devices in personal fall protection systems (e.g., fall arrest, work positioning, rope access, restraint, and rescue systems).
Connectors are used in systems composed of a line fixed, either temporarily or permanently, to a structure at the top only, on which a travelling device is attached. The user connects to the travelling device when ascending or descending. In the case of a fall, the travelling device should grip the line and arrest the wearer’s fall.
Connectors are subject to a range of tensile strength tests, applied in several directions, depending on type. If a connector has only one possible direction of loading (e.g. where one end of the connector is permanently attached to another component), loading is applied in one direction. Since misuse can result in loading being applied in a direction other than the device’s main direction, testing is required in both the major (length) axis and minor (width) axis. In addition, where connectors do not automatically lock on closure, testing is conducted with gate locked and unlocked.
In the case of EN 362 (for industrial PPE such as fall arrest systems, work restraint, work positioning, rope access, etc.), tensile loads are applied and held for 3 minutes, whereas in EN 12275 (for PPE designed for mountaineering, rock climbing, climbing walls, spelunking, and canyoneering), the load is increased to the point where breakage occurs. Therefore, it is important, when comparing products, to be aware of the standard each connector has been tested against.
Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt spray test to determine whether the product can provide a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (e.g., rust). Products are held in a sealed chamber filled with a saltwater mist, which can cause untreated metals to rust. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours of exposure and examined thereafter for signs of rust and to assess whether each device can continue to function properly.