General Guidelines To A Successful Operation of the Vortex

Written By: Lance Piatt

Excerpt From The Arizona Vortex Guidebook - A Rigging Lab Academy Premiere Course



We highly recommend training for the assembly portion of the Vortex in a safe environment where all participants can concentrate on the relevant tasks.

  • Whenever possible, set up the Vortex away from the fall hazard zone, then walk it to the edge.
  • Take measures to prevent the Vortex from toppling over the edge during setup and rigging. This may include
    attaching a secured tether cord to the head or leg and/ or placing the frame on belay while it is being moved
    and secured into position.
Step 1 – Identify the Mode of Use

Anchor Frame – Where the rope supporting the load is terminated on to the vortex

Directional Frame – Where the rope supporting the load is not terminated onto the Vortex, but rather is redirected through a pulley which is supported by the Vortex.

Step 2 – Identify the Applied Force

Determine the magnitude and direction of the applied force:

  • Planned movements of the load.
  • Foreseeable unplanned movements of the load.
Step 3 – Identify the Tendency of Movement

The head and the feet of the frame will tend to move if not restrained.

Step 4a – Determine the Foot Securing Requirements

The feet are secured to prevent any movement of the feet and the frame.

Step 4b – Determine the Heading Securing Requirements

The head of the frame is typically secured using guys.  The guys give strength and rigidity to the frame.

Step 5 – Ensure guy Angles are within limits

Ensure guy/guy plane angles are:

  • Not less than 30°
  • Not less than the applied force angle
Step 6 – Test load the rigging to ensure frame stability and security 
Ensure the rigging is tested by applying a load to the system in a safe situation.  This test should be performed prior to supporting personnel in a potentially hazardous area.
Click Here or more on the Arizona Vortex Guidebook Course 

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