ACCT White Paper: “Life Safety Equipment Systems Used for Operating a Course."

White Papers,

The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) is proud to announce the publication of “Life Safety Equipment System Used for Operating a Course.” The publication is approved by the ACCT Consensus Group and will be available digitally from the ACCT website on Tuesday February 4, 2020.

Questions about this publication should be addressed to Scott Andrews, Policy Director at

The White Paper1 describes some of the complexities of equipment choices for working in the challenge course and canopy/zip line tour industry and the written material various authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) have published on the subject. The White Paper also looks at some strategies employers in the industry should use in approaching their worker safety and risk management plans.

ACCT has been publishing standards for the challenge course and canopy/zip line tour industry since 1994. As an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Developer (ASD), the standards are developed by consensus for the purpose of design, performance, inspection, operation and training on a myriad of course types. The diversity of the international community’s courses and applicable regulatory authority creates challenges when determining how to address the safety of employees performing the work of trainers, inspectors, facilitators, guides, etc. ACCT staff and volunteers have been working on this topic for several years; the approach has evolved from prescriptive solutions that apply in particular jurisdictions to a broader education that will help people worldwide navigate the options.

At the 2020 International ACCT Conference and Expo a presentation: “SDC ‐ Operators at Height” is intended as an educational opportunity including feedback and discussion surrounding this White Paper.

Historical Work & Publications

 2011 ACCT submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ‐ an agency of the United States Department of Labor) a paper in reference to OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910, Sub Part D: Walking‐Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems); proposed Rule. 
 2012 ACCT Work at Height Task Group formed; focused on the work of challenge course installers/builders.
 2013 ACCT published a White Paper on Harnesses in the Challenge Course Industry for industry stakeholders to address issues arising from a California OSHA action regarding harnesses for participants on zip lines.
 2016 OSHA released a pamphlet entitled Protecting Zip‐Line Workers. (OSHA 3845)
 2018 ACCT added an Operator at Height Task Group to look at the needs of all industry employees who may be required to perform tasks at height.


These publications and the efforts of the Task Groups were instrumental in developing an understanding of the complexity employers have in ensuring safety and compliance. Their work and discussions held during symposiums and international ACCT conferences, have led to the current White Paper being developed. Copies of prior publications and more information can be found on ACCT’s website. ( ACCT provides accreditation, training, education and regulatory agency support to the global challenge course industry. To learn more about ACCT and its International Conference or other services, please visit:


1White Paper is a report, clarification or guide from an issuing entity meant to address a complex issue or discuss a standard, policy or regulation from said entity’s perspective. While it can be helpful for impacted parties, it is not a legal position. Rather it is meant to clarify or bring to light an idea.

This paper was developed by volunteers including Kathy Haras and members of the Standards Development Committee (SDC) under the auspices of the ANSI/ACCT Consensus Group. 

2020-01-30 Life Safety Equiment Systems Used for Operating a Course (PDF - Must be logged in member)