TetherLock is an innovative tethering system that allows industrial climbers to secure their tools in an efficient and safe way. By storing unused tools on a base connected to the harness and only tethering the actively used tools, it streamlines tool handling and reduces clutter.
At the core of this is the TetherLock mechanism that is integrated into the tools and allows the switch from storage to actively tethered in a matter of seconds. During this process, the tool is always connected at one point, which makes it impossible to drop and ensures maximum safety.
Researchcapturing the experiences of industrial climbers
ProcessDevelopment an testing of all the different parts
TetherLock systemOne actively used tool with the rest being mounted to the harness.
TetherLock constructionsimple construction, optimized for serviceability and strength
TetherLock Connectionswitching connection from the base to a tether.
In the research phase of this project, I was able to follow several industrial climbers during the construction of a 72 m tall 5g mast. In order to protect their coworkers beneath them and surrounding equipment, they have to tether their tools to their harness. It quickly became obvious, that this process can be substantially improved. Current solutions require a separate tether for each tool, which can quickly become a problem as multiple tools are needed. The extra tethers introduce extra weight, tangle with each other and the safety hooks, and slow down work. For this reason, medium or smaller tools are often not tethered, even though they still pose a very significant risk if dropped.
The TetherLock system streamlines the whole tool tethering process and reduces the number of tethers required. Key to this is the TetherLock mechanism located in each tool. With it, the tool is always connected to either a base or a tether and can not be dropped. In its resting state a tool is connected to a base, which is mounted to the harness of an industrial climber and only once they need to use the tool they connect the tether to it, which automatically releases it from the base. This means there are much fewer tethers needed and during climbing the tools are securely stored, without getting in the way.
Benefit to User
By reducing the numbers of tethers needed to just the ones actively used, tethering every tool becomes a viable option, which increases safety. Additionally, by storing the tools on the harness through base stations, climbing becomes much easier as the tools are much less likely to be caught in surrounding equipment. The TetherLock makes it also very convenient and fast to switch between different tools, it only takes a couple of seconds and during the whole process the tool is always connected at one point which makes it impossible to drop it. This ensurance of safety reduces the mental workload on the industrial climbers and streamlines workflows. Faster tool handling is a key aspect of this design and will reduce the overall time spent on a job. A dropped tool poses not only a safety risk, but also a serious delay, as the user has to climb all the way down to retrieve it and climb up again. Due to the symmetric design, TetherLock can not only switch tools between a tether and base, but also between tethers. This enables the quick exchange of a tool between workers without the risk of dropping it, or fumbling around with carabiners.