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Guidance on the selection, installation, maintenance and use of steel wire ropes in vertical mine shafts


This guidance covers winding ropes, balance ropes, guide ropes and rubbing ropes.

The failure of a steel wire rope while in service is potentially disastrous, particularly when being used as part of a winding system transporting a large number of people in a vertical shaft. Even when not transporting people, a rope failure gives rise to significant risks to people working near the shaft. Any rope failure could cause damage to winding equipment and the shaft itself putting it out of action. Apart from giving rise to very hazardous recovery operations, the loss of one means of egress presents additional risk to everyone below ground.

Who should read this document

This guidance is aimed primarily at owners, managers, members of the management structure and any other person who manufactures, selects, installs, inspects, examines or maintains shaft ropes used in vertical winding systems. Other non-mining employers who use similar ropes may also find some of this guidance useful and the HSC guidance on haulage ropes,1 for example, the parts on capping, storage and handling of steel wire ropes.

This guidance deals mainly with the selection, installation and maintenance of steel wire ropes used in vertical mine shafts. It is split into an introductory section which gives a broad outline of good practice; and four technical annexes covering winding, balance and guide ropes as follows:

The general advice in this document should also be applied to lift ropes where appropriate, further specific advice on lifts in mine shafts is included at Appendix 8.