LOLER inspectors and others can gain valuable knowledge about ropes through a new workshop being trialled by Honey Brothers.

WITH so many new products available for arborists, it is important that as well as climbers being up to date with the equipment they (and their teammates) are using, that others such as LOLER inspectors, arb trainers and assessors and those involved in tree work health and safety also have an understanding of the use, care and safety of the equipment that is now available.

As the UK’s only CE-certified splicers and the largest arboricultural equipment supplier in the UK, Honey Brothers is in a perfect position to help keep the industry up to date on current, new and future equipment. From its base in Guildford, Surrey, it supplies arb companies and individuals across the world and, with many of the team being experienced arborists, their recommendations and advice are trusted across the industry when it comes to purchasing new or replacement kit.

Hoping to extend that advice a little further, the company is trialling a one-day workshop on rope splicing, specifically designed for LOLER inspectors and arboricultural trainers/assessors. Run by expert rope splicer Lee Cole and his assistant Sean Thompson, the aim of the day is not to teach people how to splice ropes (although I think all who attended the day I was invited to will be inspired to try), but to give an overview of what’s involved in splicing, the different splices used on different ropes, what to look out for when inspecting ropes and any features or defects to look out for. With so much focus on ropes in the industry over the past 12 months, the timing of this probably couldn’t be more perfect.

Forestry Journal: Honey Brothers' expert rope splicer Lee Cole.Honey Brothers' expert rope splicer Lee Cole.

Honey Brothers supplies seven different brands of rope, and Lee and Sean splice over 200 ropes a week, so attendees on the workshops will be in experienced hands.

With four people at the trial workshop (to ensure COVID-19 measures could be adhered to) the day was relaxed and informative. Lee’s passion, knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious and what quickly became apparent is the skill involved in perfecting a flawless splice. Having been the in-house splicer at Honey Brothers for the past six years, and with over 20 years in arboriculture, Lee is well-known and well respected in the industry. He explained the splices he uses are either developed by himself or are designed by rope manufacturers such as Cousin and Teufelberger, although splicers such as Lee will sometimes have input into these as well.

READ MORE: O Brother, where arb thou?

During the day, we were shown examples of several different splices including the new Teufelberger spLIFE on both drenaLINE and Tachyon. Lee is one of the first UK splicers to be accredited with Teufelberger’s new spLIFE programme, having attended training with the company earlier in the year. Watching the creation of the drenaLINE spLIFE proved how much of an art accurate splicing is.

While demonstrating the different splices, Lee explained points such as the techniques used on different rope types, when whipping is required to finish the splice and what to look out for when inspecting whipping, how different ropes feel when they have been spliced, and features to look for to tell if a rope has been spliced correctly and safely. Lee is the only CE-certified splicer in the UK, and with many other people offering splicing services where the end product will not hold the CE certification number, it is essential that LOLER inspectors understand each rope in order to fully inspect items during their six-month LOLER examinations.

Throughout the day, Lee and Sean were both happy to answer the many questions people had, whether this was regarding the splice techniques being used, what ropes are most popular, what damage to look for on spliced ropes or discussions on previous items that had been inspected by those attending.

With positive feedback from all who attended, a workshop such as this not only offers the chance to gain relevant and up-to-date CPD training, but also gives the opportunity for those involved in carrying out climbing kit inspections to share experiences and ideas with others in the industry.

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