Gear Safety Label - FAQ
Gear Safety Label - FAQ
FAQ for Slackline Industry Partners
What is the ISA?
The ISA is the International Slackline Association, founded in Bern in 2015. It aims to be an umbrella federation for all slackline associations/clubs worldwide. Its goals include actively participating in international slackline movements, supporting its members, encouraging best practices, developing gear and rigging standards, maintaining and publishing a database on slackline-related incidents and much more.
It works through the following bodies, each having separately defined powers and duties: General Assembly, Advisory Board, Executive Board, Auditors, Court and the Commissions
Please study this presentation for more details:
What is the ISA Safety Commission? Who is/can be part of it?
The SC is an agency formed by the ISA and one of the aforementioned commissions. There are the “Board members” of the SC, which include the president, vice president and treasurer of the SC and additional representatives. These SC members need to be proposed by a non-profit member associations of the ISA and approved and appointed by the ISA advisory board . These ISA Safety Commission board members join the meetings and have one vote each.
Industry Partners (=Slackline Gear Manufacturers) can join the meetings without voting rights. Additionally members of the advisory and executive Board of the ISA can join the meetings as well, without voting rights.
How does the SC integrate into the ISA?
The SC functions like an Association (ISA Safety Commission) within an Association (ISA). The SC is formed by the ISA, in that the advisory board of the ISA appoints its board members.
The SC organizes its work independently of other ISA bodies and has its own Charter (=Articles of Association) and its own Bank Account. The SC Charters will be revised in April 2018 for the first time to adapt to changes until then.
The SC has an advisory function to the executive board of the ISA. The SC will also give annual reports to the executive board and perform the tasks assigned by the executive board.
Who are the current ISA Safety Commission board members and representatives?
Current board members (proposed by ISA active members and confirmed by the ISA Advisory Board) are:
(internally appointed roles in brackets)
President: Stephen Cave
Vice President: Antonin Levy (Communications Secretary)
Treasurer: Joshua Leupolz
Jediah Doohan (Technical Advisor)
Charles Chater (Publication Secretary)
Harald Höglinger (Technical Advisor)
Wilbert Kiemenjei (Technical Advisor)
Oliver Roß (Technical Advisor)
Are these independent people? What about the future?
None of these people are affiliated with any slackline companies in any way or plan to be in the near future. If someone wants to join the SC other than as an industry partner, the same has to be true. These SC board members will sign a non-disclosure agreements on the work done within the SC, to ensure the protection of manufacturers’ business secrets.
Right now, the only way to become part of the SC other than as an industry partner, is being proposed by an ISA member association as a representative and approved by the Advisory Board of the ISA. [a]
What’s the job of the SC?
The SC has several jobs: It helps ISA member associations and the slackline community with safety issues. It develops quality labels for slackline gear and analyzes the market to keep them up to date. It’s responsible for the Safety Accident and Incident Report. It works on general topics of safety like newly discovered safety-relevant problems, rigging best-practices, information on gear and material and more, and promotes them to the slackline community.
As of the last ISA Safety meeting September 2017 in Moléson, Switzerland, the SC’s mid-term goals are the Quality Labels for gear, Festival Risk Assessment and the Safety Accident and Incident Report (SAIR).
What advantages/privileges does an ISA Partnership include?
The ISA partnership as an slackline industry partner will grant access to all full SC meetings that are held and participation in all summaries and work done in those meetings. Also in the future the partnership will be a basis for an application for the gear quality labels.
What are the working groups? Why should I join?
The working groups are where the actual work is done. Here we will work on specific topics with a reduced number of people in comparison to the full SC meetings. We will have more regular meetings than the bi-weekly commission meetings. Right now, there are three working groups, that are working on the quality labels for webbing (1), weblocks (2) and starter kits (3). Another working group for festival risk assessment is planned.
Do I need to be an ISA slackline industry partner to apply for a label?
Do I need to be a part of the SC Working Groups to apply for the label?
No. We recommend being part of these working groups. In case you would like to give inputs, advice and feedback for the test protocols, this is your chance.
Why should I apply for a gear quality label?
Our goal, as the SC, is to establish these gear quality labels, so that it will be easier for customers to compare different gear of the same kind (like weblocks, webbing, starter kits, etc.) and identify sufficiently safe gear. In order to fulfill this vision, we will actively promote our gear quality labels, and advise the community to look out for them. In the early stages of the labels it will certainly make the manufacturers with the labels stand out, as the labels take some time to be adopted by more manufacturers. In the long term, we hope to achieve something similar to the UIAA’s labels.
Our Label is not a standard as you know it (European Norm or National Norm) but we are confident, that this is what they could become in the midterm (5-10 years) if the slackline industry partners and the community wish to proceed in this direction.
Other entities outside of the slackline industry (like large insurance companies, consumer safety organisations, gear test facilities, diverse norming bodies) have been and will be pushing this topic in their own interest - we are aiming on keeping things together, so the slackline communities and the slackline manufacturers interests are heard in this ongoing discussion and inevitable process.
What the label will not provide, is a PPE certification or CE certification. It won’t give you insurance against liability and lawsuits but it can be used for documenting that you had your gear independently tested (to prove due diligence). The report and documentation of the test results according to the protocol can be used in any way by manufacturers. In the future, this potentially includes being able to show that sufficient efforts were made to ensure a product’s quality and safety.
For a PPE or CE, testing would have to be done with a certified testing facility (called notified bodies), which can cost several thousands of euros per gear type or sometimes even per test.
To summarize, the label will be a combined effort of us (the ISA and the ISA Safety Commission) and you (the slackline industry partners and gear manufacturers) to communicate to consumers, that the products of gear quality label holders are of high quality and safe to use.
Summarized here are the benefits of becoming an ISA Gear Quality Label Holder:
- Usage of the ISA Quality Label on your certified products
- Promote your company as a producer of high standard slackline materials throughout the world.
- Display of your company logo as a Partner and Gear Label Holder on different pages of the ISA website and in ISA Presentations held at Events and around the world.
- Participation in the plenary meetings of the ISA Safety Commission with voting rights as per regulations.
How do you decide if my product will be approved?
After application for the specific label, you will be required to send in a certain number of pieces of the equipment you want to have approved (the amount depends on the respective label). This gear will then be tested according to the testing protocols, that are being developed in the working groups. How fast this happens depends on the number of applications, since we are organising batch tests, in order to keep the price of the label and effort for testing for manufacturers as low as possible. We try to coordinate applications and tests with external testing facilities.
During the test, the findings will be precisely documented and subsequently sent to us and shared with you. If the results are within the parameters we specify in the testing protocol, the label will be granted.
By joining the working groups, ISA industry partners can actively participate in the development of the testing protocols.
Who defines the testing methods?
The testing methods will be defined by the respective working group, which (as mentioned before) is comprised of the SC members and any industry partners that choose to join those working group. The final word on what the protocol wording will be is up to the ISA Safety Commission board members to decide.
Who will perform the tests?
The tests (according to the protocol we collaboratively create), will be performed by independent testing facilities. We are in contact with testing facilities that are working in the industry but are not notified bodies (thus greatly reducing the cost for testing). These will perform the tests and report to us (meaning the SC Board) and you with a detailed documentation/report of the test results.
For the gear label testing “Siebert Consulting Group” in Vienna will perform the tests at a very good price. Here we can have batch testing done. For the first series of testing we will have ISA Safety Commission members present and help with implementing the protocols.
If an Industry Partner wishes to use a different facility, of course that’s possible too. The SC board will check the conditions under which the testing at the proposed testing facility can be done, possibly with attendance of a SC board member to ensure the proper implementation of the testing protocol and sufficient accuracy of the testing facility.
Be aware, that if the protocols get into the hands of notified bodies and other norming institutions, this will set a precedent for testing of this specific gear type in the future.
Notified bodies make their money of testing gear, they will see an opportunity in having new norms.
What will the gear quality label cost?
In the future there will be basic fees (fixed until 2020) for:
- Slackline Industry Partnership Yearly Fee (Euro 150 per year)
- Working Group (optional, Euro 50 per group per year)
- Protocol Document Purchase (optional, TBD)
- Label Cost Yearly Fee (TBD)
Additionally there will be the price of the testing. This can be done with “Siebert Consulting Group” in Vienna at a very good price. If an Industry Partner wishes to use a different facility, then for the first series of testing at that facility a member of the ISA Safety Commission must be present to ensure the quality of the testing.
What happens with the money I pay for the label?
All work done by the SC members is voluntary. In the future, if the number of manufacturers and/or products to be tested rises, we might hire personnel that can do administrative tasks, like coordinating the tests, keeping the label listings up to date and communicating actively, since volunteer workers can only offer so much of their time (you can also compare to the UIAA). This would however not be a member of the SC. If we have any excess money, we’ll save it for future expenses, like the aforementioned hired workers or scientific safety-related research.
Also we will continue being transparent about our income and expenses to all ISA industry partners (which will as well be discussed on the SC meetings, that ISA industry partners can join).
How far along are you in the process of implementing the gear quality labels?
We have been working on the testing protocols for the past months (following the ISA safety event in September 2017) in the dedicated working groups. Right now we are at a point, where we have first drafts of how the testing protocols for “webbing locker” and “webbing” look like. The drafts are based on online surveys of experienced people, athletes and our own perceptions of what the minimum requirements for safe gear should be, combined with the information we gathered from existing standards and labels like EN or UIAA.
From this point forward, starting with our first draft to work with, we want to work in cooperation with industry partners on finishing the protocols. This will possibly be happening while doing tests parallel to that, in order to check the practicality and logic of the protocol.
Also in the near future our first cyclic weblock tests will be starting, and a report on the first cyclic test of webbing that has recently been done will be published.
In summary, we are still in a very early stage of creating the gear quality labels, and want to work on this incorporating the slackline manufacturers expertise going forward.
[a]Insert link to application form here, for the version that will go on the website - not necessary for manufacturer version