Petzl has issued a recall for all Scorpio via ferrata lanyards after an accident involving its equipment in Grenoble, France earlier in May.
The French climbing equipment company issued the recall May 19, 2011, after initially sending out a safety alert on May 13.
Investigation of the May 5 accident, in which a climber was seriously injured after a fall, indicates that defective equipment — possibly a missing safety stitch – could be at fault.
“Our internal investigation and analysis of our manufacturing procedures specific to the production of tear webbing energy absorbers has identified a weakness which could explain the defect leading to the cause of this accident,” Petzl officials said in the recall.
In addition to the Scorpio recall, the company temporarily stopped the sale of all new Scorpio and Absorbica via ferrata lanyards, which use the same tear-webbing style shock absorber construction.
Via ferrata (iron roads in Italian) involves climbers and hikers traversing mountain ledges on fixed cables, steps, ladders and bridges while latched in with a lanyard to the structure. Most via ferratas are located in the European mountains.
“The recall impact in North America is relatively small with only about 1,200 units in circulation since 2002,” Petzl America President Mark (Roody) Rasmussen told SNEWS. “The bulk of those have been sent to commercial via ferrata operations, primarily operating in eastern Canada.”
Rasmussen said Petzl is working with the Consumer Product Safety Council regarding the recall, which expects to issue an additional joint press release in a few days.