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Hardware standards

The European Community has a range of climbing equipment standards which covers most of the hardware commonly used in climbing, abseiling, caving, and rescue. There is also a separate standard for connectors used as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in the height safety field. See the lists below.

In addition the NPFA hardware standards are sometimes referenced in the absence of other suitable standards, and are widely used in the rescue industry. “Light use” ratings for hardware are 22 kN, and “general use” ratings are 36 kN.

Compliance and certification

Many people are not aware of the difference between standard certification and standard compliance. “Compliance” means that the manufacturer and/or distributor of the product claims that the product complies with the standard in question, which means that if it was evaluated by an independent assessment agency against the standard, it would pass the evaluation and could become certified against the standard.

“Third-party certification” means that this process has actually been carried out – at considerable expense to the manufacturer. Claims of compliance should be treated with a degree of scepticism, especially if the supplier does not display a detailed knowledge of the content of the standard.
In the European community no product may be sold without certification to the relevant European standard.