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Zip Line Inspection & Maintenance

Inspection and Maintenance

Summary

A routine inspection and maintenance protocol is the best way to ensure the safe and lasting enjoyment of your zip line. The practices described below should become second nature after repeated use. Never ride your zip line without first performing all the necessary steps for testing the equipment.

There are four types of inspection procedures that are each performed at specified intervals. Each type of inspection procedure involves a number of tests and assessments.

Biannual Inspection

This type of inspection should be performed every 6 months. At the beginning and end of each season is an ideal time to perform the biannual inspection.

Per Ride Inspection

As the name suggests this inspection should be performed directly before every participant lifts his or her feet and zips down the cable.

Per Session Inspection

A “session” consists of multiple rides on the zip line by one or more participants during a short amount of time. If the zip line is used frequently throughout the day the Per Session Inspection should be performed on a daily basis. For less frequent use the Per Session Inspection need only be performed directly prior to a ride or multiple sets of rides on the zip line.

Per Change Inspection

This inspection should be performed after any changes or adjustments have been made to an existing zip line such as changes to the height of the cable anchors, changes to the tension of the cable, or changes to the braking system.  The Per Change Inspection should also be performed after initially installing the zip line for the first time.

 

 

 

Biannual Inspection

Per Ride Inspection

Per Session Inspection

Per Change Inspection

Cable, Hardware & Equipment Assessment

 

 

Cable Avenue Assessment (visual)

 

 

Riding Gear Test

 

Weight Test

 

 

Brake Test

 

 

Cable Avenue Assessment (physical)

 

 

 

Inspection & Testing

  • First Time / Per Change Inspection
    • Weight Test
      • Attach a concentrated load (not a person), equal to the weight of the heaviest expected equipment user to the trolley mounted on the cable.
      • b. Bounce the concentrated load up and down at the midsection of the cable several times so the cable and trolley experience the maximum stress expected under normal operating conditions.
      • c. Detach the test weight and recheck the termination hardware and cable anchors for defects, proper torque and configuration per the manufacturer’s or installer’s recommendations.
      • d. Visually observe the trolley chassis looking for cracks, bends or other physical defects.
    • Brake Test
    • Cable & Hardware Inspection
    • Riding Gear Inspection
  • Per Session Inspection
    • Weight Test
    • Brake Test
    • Cable Avenue Inspection (physical)
      • Walk the length of the cable avenue examining the ground over which the cable runs. Look for any object that the equipment user may come in contact with as they descend the zip line. Inspect the landing area for objects on the ground that may become a hazard or impede the dismounting operation. This test is especially important if the end of the zip line is out of sight.
  • Per Ride Inspection
    • Riding Gear Inspection
    • Cable Avenue Inspection (visual)
      • Visually observe the ground over which the cable runs and landing area for any foreign objects such as people, animals or vehicles.
  • Biannual Inspection
    • Cable & Hardware Inspection

 

Inspection & Testing Procedure

 

Your zip line should be thoroughly inspected and a weight test performed before every use. A speed test should always be performed on any new zip line installation. NEVER RIDE YOUR ZIP LINE WITHOUT FIRST PERFORMING ALL THE NECESSARY STEPS FOR TESTING THE EQUIPMENT. FAILURE TO DO SO MAY RESULT IN INJURY OR DEATH. SLEADDVENTURES LLC (dba ZipLineGear.com) CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE IF AN INCIDENT OCCURS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED HAD THE OPERATING, INSPECTION, WEIGHT TESTING AND SPEED TESTING PROCEDURES BEEN PROPERLY COMPLETED. SLEADDVENTURES LLC CANNOT ANTICIPATE EVERY POSSIBLE HAZARD NOR CAN WE TAKE RESPONSIBILTY FOR ANY INCIDENTS THAT RESULT FROM CARELESSNESS, A LACK OF COMMON SENSE, OR THE TAKING OF UNNECESSARY RISK.

 

Before Every Use.

Follow these steps every time prior to using the zip line.

  • Visually inspect the anchor to which the cable is attached. If a tree is used as the anchor, assess the health of the tree; never anchor the zip line to a dead or dying tree. If damage to the tree is anywhere observed, a closer examination may be necessary to assess the structural integrity. Move the zip line to another location if the strength of the tree has been compromised. If a pole is used as the anchor, visually observe that the pole is aligned vertically and has not diverged from the original alignment. Other anchor types should be inspected as is appropriate to the application.
  • The cable terminations, cable slings, eyebolts and turnbuckles should all be physically and visually examined for wear, proper configuration and adjustment. All the nuts and bolts of the cable clamps, turnbuckles and eyebolts should be checked using a wrench to be sure they have not vibrated loose or been tampered with. The distance between the face of the tree and apex of the cable sling should be not less than the radius of the anchor tree or pole. When an eyebolt is used, pay special attention to the reverse side. Any signs that the eyebolt is pulling through the anchor should be immediately addressed. If this is the case, a larger washer and/or metal plate should be used. [Diagram]
  • Visually inspect the cable itself. Walk the entire length of the ride looking for damage to the cable, kinks, twists, abnormal amount of sag, foreign objects, etc. If any of the above are found, the problem should be resolved and/or the cable replaced as is necessary before a rider is allowed on the zip line.
  • Check the riding gear for improper configuration, damage, fraying, bending, tearing, cracking, slipping or other characteristics which would indicate that the items performance and/or strength have been compromised. Make special note of the following:
    • Trolleys – Spin the wheels to check for excessive friction or roughness. Check the inside of the housing for excessive wear from cable rubbing (more typical for trolley used in combination with bungee brakes). Take one grip in each hand and twist firmly in opposite directions to check for rotation or slipping. A handlebar with one or more loose grips should be retired IMMEDIATELY.
    • Carabiners – Check that the gate properly closes and the locking mechanism operates without fault. Check for excessive wear at the points of contact between the carabiner and the trolley.
    • Drifter Seat – Inspect the entire length of the rope, especially the spliced end, for fraying, broken threads, abnormal twists, and slipping. Check the wood seat for cracking and the knotted end of the rope for tightness. Additional accessories such as a handlebar or harness should NEVER be attached to the spliced eye or through open strands on the rope. These should always be clipped directly to the trolley.
    • Harnesses – Examine all straps, tie-in-points, stitching, and buckles for abrasion or unravelling to ensure faultless operation. Lanyards should NEVER be attached to a gear loop or any other location on the harness other than the main tie-in loop.
    • Lanyards – Survey for excessive wear and loose stitching.

 

3.1.5 Cable Weight Test

A weight test should now be performed. Follow the steps below.

3.1.5.1.              Attach a heavy load (not a person), equal to the weight of the heaviest expected rider, to the cable using a lanyard or rope and the zip line trolley.

3.1.5.2.              Bounce the test weight up and down at the middle of the cable several times so the cable experiences the maximum stress possible. [Diagram]

3.1.5.3.              Detach the test weight and recheck the cable clamps, turnbuckles, cable slings, eyebolts, cable termination and cable anchors for proper torque, arrangement and integrity.

Continue only if the above steps have been performed without issue.

 

3.1.6 Riding Gear Weight Test

Review the Operating Instructions section before proceeding to familiarize yourself with the proper way to configure and attach the riding gear.

 

3.1.6.1                The heaviest rider should now connect himself or herself to the lowest point on the cable (typically 85% of the distance along the cable from the starting location) using the same riding gear configuration as all other riders. If multiple sets or configurations of riding gear are used, each set should be individually tested.

Caution: If the cable is more than 8’ off the ground at the point of testing, a lanyard or length of rope should be used as an extension between the trolley and riding gear to position the rider closer to the ground. Never test the riding gear with the cable more than 8’ off the ground.

3.1.6.2                Once the rider is connected, he or she should bounce up and down several times in order to put the maximum possible stress on the cable and riding gear.

Inspect all riding gear for fault as detailed in step 4. If everything is found to be in safe working condition, you may move onto the speed test and cable tension test.

 

3.2                      All new zip line installations ought to be tested for excessive speed and proper cable tension before participants are allowed to ride freely. If, after the initial installation, the cable has undergone any changes to the height or tension, another speed test should be completed.

 

3.2.1 Speed Test

3.2.1.1.              Attach a test weight, equal to the weight of the heaviest rider to the cable at the point of departure.

3.2.1.2.              Allow the test weight to zip freely down the cable while the following are observed:

a.  Does the test weight come in contact with the ground or other foreign objects at any point along the ride?

b.  Does the test weight have enough speed towards the end of the cable to complete the ride?

c.  Does the test weight exhibit excessive speed as it approaches the extent of the cable?

If any of the above are observed, an adjustment to the height or tension of the cable will be necessary:

3.2.1.3.              For a slow ride, one of two adjustments can be made.

a.  Tightening the cable in order to increase tension and thus decrease sag will result in more speed as the test weight approaches the end of the ride.

b.  Increasing the slope of the cable by either raising the beginning anchor point or lowering the ending anchor point will increase the overall speed of the ride.

3.2.1.4.              For a ride with unreasonably fast speeds, the inverse of step “C” may need to be implemented. Either decrease the slope of the cable or increase the sag in the cable.

3.2.1.5.              After the cable has been tuned properly using the test weight a competent person should take a test ride. The rider should wear leather gloves and grip the cable with one hand for the first several rides as he or she descend down the cable. Gripping the cable with a gloved hand allows the rider to control his or her speed in the event that the cable is improperly tuned. It may take several trips before the test rider is comfortable zipping at full speed without the gloves.

 

© Zip Line Gear 2016

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