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 Post subject: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:40 pm 
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This seems to have been discussed to death on these forums, however there's no conclusive verdict. I'm referring to the civil liability that a bolter faces should a third party get injured or die on their route, due to hardware failure.

We all know there are a lot of grey areas, and that customs change through time. There was once a time when 8mm bolts were common place. There are a lot of routes out in the sandstone in the OFS that have drop in anchors. There are too many hardware store bought top anchor systems out there to mention.

We've all had our 2 cents on the matter, and while opinions are great, facts are better. Are there any legal minded folks here, lawyers or people with actual knowledge on the issue. What are the bolter's rights? What are the climber's rights? How is this affected when on private land, or on state land? If I bolt a route, with methods I deem safe at the time, and my hardware fails, am I liable for the injured party's damages? How does this come in to play with things like SCC, or rusting bolts? Is there a time limit to how long a bolt is accepted as safe?

I'd love to get to the bottom of this. There was reference to the Oz incident, where guys use the wrong hole sizes and caused a death. While it's clear that our laws are not the same as theirs, is there a president to be set from this? I'm not in any way trying to shirk the responsibility of the bolter to ensure the utmost safety in creating a climb. I think anyone who has bolted a route understands the gravity of the responsibility when it comes to having other people entrust their lives to your placements, but I personally think it's up to each climber to decide if a route is safe or not to climb.

Thoughts from legal minds please. Apologies in advance for digging up this one, but it'd be great to know.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Real Name: Donovan Craig
You're probably already aware of this page http://www.climb.co.za/anchor-replacement-fund/ however it may add valuable info to you and those trying to answer your question(s).


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:28 am 
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Real Name: OneDog
I'm guessing that everyone is (and will be) guessing on this subject. The only real way you'll get your answer is to have an injured or dead climber sue, and have one sue for each one of the scenarios: hardware store equipment, failure due to SCC, failure due to plain old age, failure due to incompetence of the bolter etc.

Can you hold your government liable for death or injury on a road they made? It's all an ocean of grey. The outcome probably depends solely on who's willing to pay the most legal fees.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:31 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Emile is proberbly right, it will have to go to court in order to establish a precident. And it will proberbly not be a climber that takes the bolter to court but a medical aid or insurance company who want to recoup their losses.

As far as I understand it in order for someone to be held accountable for negligence in any regard, it would have to be proved that you knew or reasonably should have known that your actions would proberbly result in damages.

To establish this "should have known" the process would involve experts in the field so proberbly the ARF or mountain club you could provide experianced bolters and they would have to give there opinions regarding the suitablity of the equipment used and rock bolted.

To get a lawyers opinion you are proberbly going to have to pay for it. (hopefully that a lawyer reads this and decides to answer to prove me wrong). I did not study law but did do an intro type course at varsity about 100 years ago.

I am sorry that I brought this up on the other thread but if the poster ignored the advise of other members and bolted anyway the negligence part might be easier to prove.

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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:04 am 
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Emile & Wayne73,

Thanks for the input, but as I mentioned in the 1st post, I'm looking for facts, not opinions. There is a definite answer to this question. I don't know it, and it seems you guys don't either. I will consult my attorney in the meantime, although civil law isn't his specialty.

emile:
Quote:
The only real way you'll get your answer is to have an injured or dead climber sue...

Can you hold your government liable for death or injury on a road they made? It's all an ocean of grey. The outcome probably depends solely on who's willing to pay the most legal fees.


Doubt a dead climber will be able to sue ;)

"probably", you know what assumptions are the mother of?


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:46 am 
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Real Name: OneDog
I think you'll get a lot of "probably"'s from the legal people too, as there are no precedents. Anyways, good luck with your quest.

PS: Programmers continue coding at least 48 hours after they are dead.... :jocolor:


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:15 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
People usually sue because they can. So in effect one claims from one's insurance because you can. Drs are often sued because they are suable and have insurance.

Suing a bolter is going to be difficult for masses of reasons mentioned and most aren't suable anyway. I think you will have as much luck as suing a bolter for not making sure the lip of a crag does not have a rock that could come off and kill the belayer below. Thailand, The dolomites an alps and even Yosemite and SA crags have thousands upon thousands of old bits of metal and tat that climbers clip all the time. And they break often. (In my case I have pulled out 3 pegs in the recent past) There is no ways you could sue someone for that and the line would be impossible to draw for any fixed piece.

BTW I do hundreds of medical reports for personal injury claims each year and I got a pretty good idea what works and what does not. The commonest by far are 3rd party claims against the RAF - well over 90%, next are people slipping and falling in shopping centres, 3rd are cops abusing people and 4th are medical negligence. I have come across 2 cases in 20 years of people suing other people for injury i.e. in over 10 000 cases. Individuals are almost impossible to sue.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:12 pm 
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Real Name: Franz Fuls
Wayne touched on a concept that is commonly applied in Occupational Health & Safety, namely the foresee-ability test: "sir, at time of installation, could you have foreseen that X could have happended?"
I agree that a test case would have to come before we can get solid answers, but I believe that the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 will hold weight in such a case:
Firstly the landowner / business owner holds primary responsibility i.t.o. the OHSAct 16(1) and may be criminally charged.
If the 16(1) responsible person delegated his responsibility i.t.o. 16(2) they will be jointly and seperately responsible for risk.
If my memory serves correct, the act refers to anyone who accesses an area in question (with or without permission) as an employee of the 'owner/employer' of that area. Thus ito the OHSAct it may be argued that a climber on a farmer's land may be classified as an employee of the farmer. Thus the poor farmer will be responsible, and liable in case of legal action.
If the landowner gave permission in writing and made a bolter responsible for safety of the installation then the bolter will also carry responsibility, but this does not exempt the landowner that must still demonstrate that he has done what can be reasonably expected from him to ensure safety of the area in question.
On existing routes I believe that the General machinery regulations, and regulations that apply to working at height and to lifting equipment could also be applied. Responsibility is on the 16(1) appointee to ensure regular inspections of lifting equipment by a competent person. Remember that the OHSAct is self regulatory and the beef of the act lies in its regulations and not in itself.
All this said, in practice you should remember that (to my knowledge) there is not one CEO of a heavy industry / mining company in South Africa doing time for manslaughter, and fines that have been issued for negligence were the exception and not exorbitant amounts.

To protect myself before bolting I would:
i. DO A RISK ASSESSMENT. Preferably on paper and filed in your safe. Dont do this alone, get other competent people on the bus. This should take 10-15 minutes after scouting the face. I can help with a format if anyone is interested (free of charge). Ask yourself: What are we about to do (detail), What can go wrong? What will we do to prevent it from going wrong? what will happen if it goes wrong? If you still want to bolt after doing this, you will have peace of mind that you are protected. Better to document on the day than try to refresh your memory 40 years later.
ii. Involve competent people in the work
iii. Use good quality equipment (we all are familiar with the CE, ISO, DIN and other specifications on our normal climbing equipment). The same applies to bolts. I am not a bolting expert and would rely on others to help with bolt selection etc, but look for a safe working load (SWL) or similar rating that AT LEAST matches the ratings on your carabs, draws, etc and you should be fine. I know that there is a lot of info available already on this site as to the selection of these.

Finally, climbers are all(??) aware of the inherent dangers of our sport. I believe that in practice we all carry the responsibility for our own safety, and that the probability of such legal action is almost zero. However, hindsight is always 20/20. Better to plan for the worst while expecting the best.

(I wrote this response from memory, based on my experience as an OHSAct 16(2) appointee a few years ago at a major chrome smelter where I was responsible for the occupational health and safety of sometimes as much as 1000 people, with risks involving heat, height, moving equipment, HAZMAT, etc. Please do not take these ramblings as fact - my memory may be rusted. The act is freely available from dept labour's website and is relatively easy to read)


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:34 am 
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Franz & Snort,

Thank you both for these brilliant answers. Franz, a lot of what you've said makes perfect sense to me, and I agree that one should be prepared for the worst case. I think it would be a great help to us to have a draft pdf form that bolters can take out to the crags and do a basic risk assessment, provide information on the bolt stock etc. Since there is a fair bit of science to placing fixed gear, I'd also hope and expect that other bolters are using torque wrenches set to the specific tensions.

Franz, a question, often climbing areas have a waiver from the landowner which the climber needs to sign in order to climb (gyms too). Would the blame then fall onto the bolter in case of legal action, due to this waiver? Should bolters who set routes on private land be 'signing' over the climbs to the landowner? I say this because say a route I bolted 15 years ago fails, due to a lack of being maintained, but that route has drawn customers (climbers) to the area and made the landowner money, should the bolter be responsible for upkeep of routes?


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:45 am 
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Real Name: John Paterson
Regarding 9ja's comments. I hope that I misunderstand his post, it sounds like consideration should be given to landowners taking over maintenance of routes? If this is the case then I believe getting access to private land will become impossible and areas may be closed. Also in areas where bolting is allowed on state land ie parts of the Table Mountain Park and Cedarberg(?) and others is there the capacity and willingness to do this? Will we really trust routes maintaned by non-climbing landowners? Once the onus passes to landowners both private and state where there might be the possibility of legal action in the case of gear failure the hassle will become to great, easier to not allow it. I do not know how legally protective an indemnity is in the case of dependents as I wonder about the legality of signing someone else's right away. If I am dependent on my wife for a living and she takes up sky diving she will sign an indemnity, but without my consent she cannot sign away my right to compensation in the case of an accident particularly if there is negligence.

I once spoke to a hang glider pilot from the states, he was bitching because many private landowners would not allow flying on their land for the fear of being sued if there was an accident.

As I say I might have misunderstood, I hope so :)

The above might be complete drivel and totally irrelevant, if so please ignore and continue with your lives :drunken:


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:46 pm 
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John, you bring up interesting points regarding indemnity. My post was more posing a question than making comment. It was based on the info Franz provided regarding the "Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993". Quite a few private climbing areas require a legal waiver to be signed, releasing them from any responsibility in the event of a death or claim. My understanding would be that if a bolter could sign over a route to the landowner (who is using this as a business mechanism to attract money), then there would be no further obligation or risk on the bolter's part later on. The reality is that most of the routes a bolter would put up would end up being maintained by the community. I've never gone to any of my routes again, and hope that one day if chains or bolts need replacement, the community would act on my behalf. That said, I do think that something like the ARF is essential in being the controlling body when it comes to re-bolting.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:06 am 
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Real Name: Franz Fuls
First a note: I am writing from memory. If any legal brains think I am talking kak, please correct me.
I really do not want to open a can of worms :) Please keep in mind my comments in my original response about the kind of penalties that have been awarded based on the OHSAct. I believe this is simply a heads up to be prepared and prevent an uncomfortable situation that may or may never arise.

Comments on the recent posts:
Nothing can indemnify against negligence. If the responsible person was negligent an indemnity is not worth the paper it is written on. In the worst case the indemnity can be used as ammunition to ensure that the OHSAct is applied to the case.
No need to sign over to the landowner. The landowner takes primary responsibility anyway. There is no way out (except rewriting the law). He/she can share the responsibility by delegating but cannot dodge it. This applies to all on his property from his farmworkers through to his sons mate who rides his bicycle on the farm.
Keep in mind that no company CEO is going to put on an overall to go and inspect lifting equipment on his site. He appoints a competent person for the job. The CEO's job through lines of delegation is then to ensure that the work gets carried out, and by a competent person.To apply this to our scenario: A wake up landowner will keep a record of routes bolted and a register of (annual?) inspection of anchors. He will try to get commitment from the bolter, MCSA or someone for this task or if he is involved in making profit from climbing he should really consider appointing a competent person (engineer-ish type) to declare anchors safe.
In my opinion the onus is not on bolter to maintain the anchors on the route he set up, same as the builder of an amusement park is not forced by law to maintain it. Maintenance is the responsibility of the owner of the amusement park. Hope this answers your question 9ja.

I guess the only way here to try and dodge the OHSAct would be for a landowner to allow people to climb for free, and putting up a sign saying that he neither prohibits or allows climbing, that he has no knowledge of climbing and that all climbers should assess the risk of climbing in general, and a specific route themselves; but I am not sure if it will work. I do know that the OSHAct is 101% applicable the moment money changes hands.

JohnNam, I am not trying to imply that landowners 'take over' route maintenance, only that it would be prudent for them to become involved and ensure that it is done (at least to some degree). In a hypothetical court case I guess the magistrate/judge will ask the landowner:
i. could you have foreseen that an accident could happen?
ii. What did you do about it?
If the landlord is a non-climber with no experience in OHSAct, PPE, working at height or lifting equipment but at least have on record an invitation to the local climbing club to regularly inspect the anchors, and ideally some record of inspections he would probably be protected, because he tried to be proactive.
Next in line would be the inspector:
i. Are you competent (if only a volunteer, or if not competent, the ball may bounce back to the landowner)
ii. Explain what makes you competent (ie 10 year bolting and climbing experience, experienced rigger, mechanical engineer, etc - court to decide if competency is valid)
iii. Based on last inspection of the failed anchor in question: have you noted any suspect conditions on the anchor (evidence in the inspection register.
if yes: did you report it to the landowner? (if yes, ball back to landowner who should have prevented use of the route i.t.o. section 37 of the OHSAct)
if no, but there is proof that an inspected anchor was unsafe then our inspector is in the hot seat due to negligence.
PLEASE guys, We all know that as climbers we take responsibility for our own safety. Those tiny leaflets that comes with draws, carabiners, friction devices etc from petzl, db, etc (that we dont read) constantly remind us of this.

Have peace of mind that according to Du Pont Safety more than 90% (98%??) of incidents are caused by human error. (hope I remembered this correctly)

If an experienced climber knows that a route is unsafe or has dodgy anchors and still climbs it he must suffer the consequences. Personally I would assume a measure of risk on bolt integrity on any bolted route. That is why I use as many draws as there are bolts. When setting up a toprope, I have a good look at the anchor before sailing down an letting other loose on the route. If someone sues you can be sure that the defence attorney will hammer on these items and if an injured climber has a reputation of taking unnecessary risk his case will probably fall apart.

For interest sake, the act may also apply at home, but it does not stop us from throwing parties at which some of us may do very stupid things :)

There is no cure for stupidity!

9ja, I will work on a crag bolting risk assesment form and create a new post it on the forum some time in the future for comment.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:05 am 
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What you're suggesting is that the landowner is getting himself into a position of possible liability for asking an entrance fee to let people climb on his land, which if you speak to many stakeholders is really more like a "land usage fee". And to avoid this liability, he would have to either let people access his land for free or he would have to spend $$ on checking that the climbing is "safe".

Never mind that the penalties that have been awawded by OHSA were 'not exorbitant amounts'. Landowner sees climbing costing him $$, he shuts down climbing. Simple as that.

Please let this nonsense talk of health and safety responsibility falling on landowners die in a thread on the internet. You are applying a law necessary in industry to protect workers (who work/"put themselves at risk" because they need to eat) to climbers who choose to go climbing, choosing to put themselves in harm's way.

<In JZ's voice> That's where the difference lies.

We're so willing to do it, we even hand over $$ in order to be able to do so! That money is not paid for a guiding service, or for bolting a route - it is compensation for the landowner to allow stangers access to his private land.

If you break yourself falling off Silvermine, can the OHSA be interpreted to pin liability on TMNP because they asked you money at the gate? EN to the OH bro. If I, as a landowner, found out that there is a possibility of some joburg boykie with a scummy lawyer for a dad sueing me for bouncing off a ledge, guess what? I'll be climbing with my mates, no one else.

Stop being silly, they're going to close down crags if that crap takes hold.

Bloody agent.
http://www.zanedickens.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/REVOLUTIONARY-HOUSE-1.mp3


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:54 am 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Agreed. Can this thread. It will give some fortune seeker or some sleezy attorney reason to treasure hunt at climbers' expense.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:04 am 
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pierre.joubert wrote:
Please let this nonsense talk of health and safety responsibility falling on landowners die in a thread on the internet


SNORT wrote:
Can this thread.


Ditto. A lot of what-if's & maybe's to no productive end. Let's enjoy the little self-regulation we have left.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:19 pm 
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Location: Rustenburg
Real Name: Marc Dewrance
As far as I understand, the OHS Act applies to exactly that 'Occupational Health and Safety' whether it can be applied to recreational activities is questionable.
As far as prosecution for liability comes in, there are a few accounts of shocking stories on the SA Mountain Guides website. From abseil "supervisors" clipping belay devices into gear loops, to not making sure harnesses are double backed, to asking a 10 year old kid if he wants a safety line???? Some of these incidents resulted in serious injury, some in death. Yet no one has been charged with man slaughter!
So legal precedent on a bolt placed that fails.... very, very, very hard to prosecute.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
Whilst I agree that it would be really bad for climbing as whole if a culture of wholesale suing took hold, and that equipment failure cases would be hard to prove, this should not be interpreted by landowners as an excuse to not be involved in and responsible for the development of climbing on their land (Nor does the need to take responsibility necessarily have to be bad for climbing). Im thinking particularly of cases where climbers are charged access fees and yet the landowners take little or no interest in safety or quality of the routes going up.

In the case of injury on TMNP land (and there have been several, some due to bolt failure) surely they have a responsibility? Its in the best interests of not only landowners but also businesses in the surrounding area (hostels, campsites, pubs, restaurants etc.) to ensure that routes are safe. I visited a popular area in France where the community had chipped in together with the local climbing federation to re-equip their two main cliffs with new glue in anchors (some 600 routes in total [-thats a lot!]), why? Simply because ppl had slowly stopped going there as it was unsafe and the tiny town relies solely on tourist trade. What has TMNP done to ensure safe routes and access paths? How much are they contributing to the ARF? Why are we charged a 'level two clearance' fee when we are the ones paying for the routes to go up and we are the ones that actually build the paths they make us pay for?

Why does the need to take responsibility have to result in owners banning climbing? (Sounds very South African - we couldnt be arsed to organise it properly so we'll just ban it!). Why should it not instead result in owners taking an interest in making sure the climbing experience others have on their land, that they have charged us for, is a good one? Im not a wealthy person, if I have to go to hospital with severe injuries due to negligence on the part of the landowner, I would be forced to sue to cover those bills.

Canning this thread wont achieve anything other than delaying the inevitable and probably making the situation worse as more and more routes age without any plan in place to safeguard the paying customers who are climbing them. Yet another example of SA lethargy; 'its a kak subject so lets not discuss it or do anything about it..' Surely better to get orgainsed and put structures in place (inspections, maintenance, warning information (for dodgey routes), landowner education etc) that will help prevent accident? ARF is a gd start but it needs to go further than that (TMNP's lack of involvement being an example).

Otherwise I may end up being beaten to death by PJ wielding a large hex ( :wink: -joke -I hope) as I lie in my hospital bed praying that my lawyers are able to set an unpopular precedent!


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:12 pm 
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Excellent post Greg. I fully agree with your comments. This is why I started this thread as I feel that down the line, if a case were to arise, there would be the possibility of the buck being passed to the bolter.

Pierre, in no way is your comment helpful. Go out and bolt some climbs, wait 15 years. Then tell me how you feel knowing your bolts are probably suspect by now, and wonder who is going to maintain them. On private land, where a landowner is earning revenue by attracting climbers through bolted routes, I really don't see why there shouldn't be some sort of 'ARF' type situation where routes can be checked for safety. Would you rather we all just keep quiet and wait until someone gets hurt.

I have bolted routes on private land, public land etc. I'm not able to go and check their safety all the time. I certainly do when I can. I'd rather actually just chop them though as I don't want to put my business and family in a situation of financial risk should a case arise. It feels to me like landowners are quite happy to charge people at the gate, yet want nothing to do with the reason they are there.

SNORT, as a gym owner, I'd expect a better answer from you. You have lots of people in and out of CityRock, all rights signed away etc. I'm sure you could actually provide some constructive info here on how a landowner could create an indemnity system, and what measures you have taken to ensure safety, who is used to asses the safety etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:49 pm 
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XMod wrote:
Whilst I agree that it would be really bad for climbing as whole if a culture of wholesale suing took hold, and that equipment failure cases would be hard to prove, this should not be interpreted by landowners as an excuse to not be involved in and responsible for the development of climbing on their land (Nor does the need to take responsibility necessarily have to be bad for climbing).

See, landowners don't owe us anything. Nor do they need an excuse to not get involved. You've developed many crags Greg - I won't name it but the really hot place acrross the valley from Exposure is the first to spring to mind. The unnamed authority doesn't (didn't) even know what to to make of the climbing being developed, and as I heard, the only way to arrange permits to go there is to tell them you want to go do the "hiking trail" there. Point being, they didn't and don't give a shit, even getting them to incorporate a climbing area that was then new into their well-oiled permit system was too much effort. Now you rock up, tell them that all the (mild steel, various types of stainless, etc) u-bolts placed there are their responsibility to upkeep, else they might face a civil lawsuit? Bam, crag closed until further notice.

XMod wrote:
Why does the need to take responsibility have to result in owners banning climbing? (Sounds very South African - we couldnt be arsed to organise it properly so we'll just ban it!)
Check how many crags in the US have been closed due to a landowner not wanting to spend the $$ (some US and access organisation has the numbers) to take this responsibility he didn't ask for. The need to take responsibility lies with YOU, the climber. Too dangerous? Go home. Looks like the fall is above a ledge? Climb something else. Try to sue the landowner for a bolt failure? They'll close the crag, declare it unsafe. Then wait for someone to appoint a chunk of an already corrupted and overstretched budget to do a "safety assessment". Then local elections, new government and your application forms are gone. Repeat, wipe hands on pants. People just end up climbing there illegally, which means whatever happens no-one takes responsibility anyway. And it's not about being too lazy to organise something - it's sadly more about bottom line. If climbers = cost, then no climbers = no cost.

XMod wrote:
In the case of injury on TMNP land (and there have been several, some due to bolt failure) surely they have a responsibility? Its in the best interests of not only landowners but also businesses in the surrounding area (hostels, campsites, pubs, restaurants etc.) to ensure that routes are safe.
No, it is in the best interests of climbers who have this strange idea of passing the responsibility of their safety on a mountain off to some collar in an office. If would be in their (TMNP) best interest to ban climbing all together. How much does that Oryx cost to keep in the air for an hour? How much do they make yearly off climbing specific permits?

I'll bet my afternoon tea that climbing results in a relatively small percentage of their income compared to day trippers, cable car riders, restaurant chompers and the usual muggle crowd. Your tiny French town is an exception to the rule, since tourism (I assume you mean climbing tourism?) is the main trade? Where that happens, like in Boven, you get indivuals who step up to do what governement won't. While Gustav has literally spent millions TRYING to make climbing in Boven enjoyable and fun, if you do get hurt there it is not his fault, nor is it the MCSA's fault (they own a chunk of the land the Wonderland crags are on, for those who didn't know).

XMod wrote:
Im not a wealthy person, if I have to go to hospital with severe injuries due to negligence on the part of the landowner, I would be forced to sue to cover those bills.
The first thing you'd have to do, is attempt to prove negligence. If you go kayaking and drown in a rapid, is it the landowner's negligence for not putting in a weir?

XMod wrote:
Surely better to get orgainsed and put structures in place (inspections, maintenance, warning information (for dodgy routes), landowner education etc) that will help prevent accident?
Yes, this "getting organised" is not my gripe - forcing landowners to close crags as their only viable option is what I'm against.

CAMP size 11, btw. The one on the left.Image

9ja wrote:
Pierre, in no way is your comment helpful.
Since I don't agree with you! Ha, you haven't changed a lot. I am of the opinion that no buck can and should be passed to the bolter. Just as passing responsibility for climbers' safety to the landowner will result in crag closure, so too will passing the buck to the bolters result in no more bolting and chopping of existing routes. I understand your unwillingess to entertain a claim about an unsafe route (one that you bolted, and that WAS safe, but now isn't due to age), but does that mean the landowner should? Why would he? If the route isn't safe, don't climb it. If the lead out is too long, top tope it, or don't climb it.

PS XMod, if you get munched pulling into a sweeet Kommetjie barrel (and I hope you live to surf those tubes at 104 years old Greg, really I do), should the Sharks board have put nets?


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
Posts: 1164
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
i agree with his pierreness (mostly) - the list goes on: mtb trails; hiking trails; swimming holes..... the last thing we want is western style protectionism that takes the edge off adventure. i have a picture of an big old tree in a sydney park; there is a 3-foot hedge around it and a huge red-letter sign saying "danger: this tree may drop branches without warning". wth??

the only one i'll take my stand on is this: if a bolter willfully ignores known bolting standards and that directly results in injury / death then there is a liability; if not legally at least morally. i'll friggen run you over with my wheelchair if the fall did not kill me :eye:

and you can't sue nissan if that 38 year old bakkie's steering column goes because of prolonged sea-air exposure. same with old bolts. so, only go chop if you know you took shortcuts in placing the bolts - that is at least the right thing to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:45 pm
Posts: 222
Real Name: Franz Fuls
I think my posts on this thread is the cause of the conflict, which was not my intention.
I was hoping that since 9ja initiated it, it would be a great place to debate implications and responsibilities; not to see how we can screw others or be screwed, but to see how we can protect ourselves and those around us, and make the crags a safer and happier place. 9ja started the post with a request to stick to facts. I believe if we do this we can keep emotions out of the way and look more objectively at reality.

With this in mind:
i. I encouraged people in my post to disagree with specific statements made since I am no legal eagle. No academical responses / legal points of view as yet.
I recently spoke to a responsible person as described in the Act's General Machinery Regulations, Reg 2 who confirmed the validity of the OHSAct on the properties on which we practiced our sport and passion. Ignorance will not lead to exemption. Better to be prepared and informed than to take the Ostrich approach.
ii. I mentioned that I doubt if we will have such a case, but preparedness is always better. Ask any person who spent time in emergency services.
iii. If you are charging money you have responsibility whether you like it or not. Be informed. Manage your risk and all will be fine. I will give an affordable solution scenario at the end.
iv. I strongly believe that discussing this and encouraging awareness will lead to improved safety at minimal cost to anyone. It will also make our climbs safer.

Suggestion for bolters (may your number grow):
- Do some form of risk assessment. It does not have to take a lot of time
- Keep the original for yourself. File it in your safe. Give a copy to the landlord / responsible person. Carbon paper is a cheap and efficient technology in this regard.
- When bolting, stick to what you have decided in the RA.

For landowners:
- I suggest that the local club / adventure centre takes initiative by taking the hassle off the landlord altogether. Go to the landlord with a good safety file appointing you as the 16(2) responsible person. If necessary, negotiate a percentage of the income in return for your efforts. ensure compliance on behalf of the landlord. That way our landlords will continue to be all too happy to let us climb, and climbers have peace of mind that our crags are safe.

Alternatively the landlords can:
- perform a risk assessment
- devise some form of 'induction' for all climbers. This can be short and sweet, explaining the specific hazards and risks, and the rules put in place to prevent them becoming an incident.
- Inspect your property from time to time as all responsible landowners already do.
- If you see a route at the crag that is not on your register. Mark it as unsafe until further notice.
- Inform all climbers / bolters through this website, your indemnity, notices that new routes may only be set up with your permission.
- When permission is requested, force the bolter to submit a RA before bolting and a declaration making the route safe before commissioning. If a bolter does not like this, he/she is welcome to bolt elsewhere.
- Set aside a small part of income received to send as a donation to the MCSA (sorry if I use your name in vain) or some other group asking in return for an annual inspection on open routes.
- Close all routes reported unsafe during inspection. Climbers can ask permission to repair and re-inspect a route in order to reopen it.
- Encourage all climbers to report unsafe conditions.
- A simple filing system will solve this with ease and simplicity.

I will definitely prefer climbing at a crag where the owner takes some interest in our safety. I (and I believe many others are) am willing to pay a premium for this peace of mind. I would gladly pay R5/day extra at boven if I knew that someone is ensuring safety of our climbs.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:05 am
Posts: 68
Quote:
I will definitely prefer climbing at a crag where the owner takes some interest in our safety. I (and I believe many others are) am willing to pay a premium for this peace of mind. I would gladly pay R5/day extra at boven if I knew that someone is ensuring safety of our climbs.

I would too. All of these ideas make the sport safer for everyone and by involving the landowners there is actually a lot more control for them. Your points in the last post are great, and would help to keep tabs on who's doing what.

Franz, thank you for the updated info. In my initial post I did ask that we try to stick to the facts, so as to not ruin this thread with banter and emotion oxymorons and metaphors. This is about climbing and our crags, and the liability that bolters and landowners face. I believe it's not about sticking one's head in the sand. It's about using common sense and having some sort of safety system in place. We have this in the Cape. The ARF replaces bolts, asseses routes and does this on a donation basis.

While Pierre might think landowners do us a favour, it's actually a mutually beneficial relationship. Look at Harrismith for example. How many climbers book the chalets, the campsites, buy food at the shop? If it were not for the original pioneers of the area putting up climbs, that place would not be the same. Climbers generate revenue, like it or not. In turn, we need to have rights as well. Those are that climbs be safe, properly checked from time to time, and be bolted by people who adhere to standards.

Guys, please don't ruin this discussion with rubbish. This 'hex on the head' game is childish.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolter's Liability
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
Posts: 1164
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
personally i think this is becoming overkill - just mho.

as to the economic argument - i think the only guys who actually make money - real money - of climbers are @ Boven and De Pakhuys (Rocklands); maybe De Bos & Eagle Mountain. Running a campsite at R50+- per night cannot be profitable ever. bronkies sees say 40 climbers over a weekend; that's R800 - R3200 per month. not small change but really worth the landowners time & effort? it will depend but if i was a landowner i would say go climb somewhere else (especially if the talk of "liability" is going around). and landowners will have to get in 3rd parties because they won't be able to check the safety themselves. and will every bolt have to be checked? plus the anchors? how frequently? how and at which standards? this is just not practical. :?

9ja wrote:
please don't ruin this discussion with rubbish. This 'hex on the head' game is childish

it's funny dude. in the words of the joker, "why sso ssserious"?


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