Base harness failure modes

On occasion we hear about accidents and even fatalities associated with the use of base harnesses. I haven´t been able to really find much information though about what can go wrong and what to take care of.

On one occasion I heard that an failed release was due to the release rings not passing through all the way, but not sure if this was a design, assembly or maintenance issue.

Do you have knowledge of things that have or can go wrong specifically with these harness types? If so, please share.

Latest Comments

Alien's picture

Thanks guys, those are some pretty clear things to look out for.

KrisH's picture

There have been a number of fatal or nearly base harness accidents, most of them were related to incorrect rigging. Specifically
1) Failing to attach the RSL to the carabiner shackle
2) Misrouting the RSL underneath the chest strap
3) Incorrectly assembling the 3 ring system
4) Using alternative carabiners for the main ring of the 3 ring system. Specifically, square type carabiners have a failure mode where the 3 ring can become jammed in the corner and not release correctly
5) Extreme difficulty in pulling the cutaway handle under high g forces, possibly due to poor maintenence
6) Failure of the closing loop of the 3 ring system leading to premature activation of one side

Jeromej's picture

3 rings have been used for decades in skydiving. They are safe but required some attention. Check the loop for any sign of wear and tear, "massaging" the fabric near rings...and of course proper assembly. I would only recommend to perform a maintenance with a skydiving certified rigger every 1-2 years. Voila be safe