“Is it safe to attach a ‘change of direction’ onto the lower end of one of the tripod legs?”
“No!” It is unsafe to pull horizonally on one leg of any tripod because it may cause the tripod to shift and destabilize the system. Skedco recommends the use of a separate anchor in this case.
“Is it acceptable to use the tripod as an ‘A’ frame and lean it over the edge?”
Yes, if you rotate the tripod feet so that the pointed ends of the feet are down and supporting the tripod. If you are working on a surface that would allow the feet to slip, you must tie or secure the feet in such a manner that they cannot slip and allow the system to collapse.
By using any tripod that has swiveling feet in that configuration (bipod) with the feet flat on a hard surface, you will experience uneven pressure on the edges of the feet as it is leaned over the edge. This could possibly damage the feet because of the angle at which they are turned (i.e., the feet are pointed toward the center of the triangle formed by the tripod). This angle places the weight of the tripod onto the edges of the feet and that is not what they are designed for.
When using the Sked-Evac tripod as an “A” frame, it is necessary to attach ropes to the two unused anchors that are attached to the head. You can do this by using carabiners. Tie the tripod back in the opposite direction from the load that is being hoisted. This will prevent the tripod from leaning too far over the edge and causing the system to collapse. Check all rigging and attachments for safety prior to lifting any load, especially a human load.
The improper use of any tripod is very dangerous and could be fatal. It is the responsibility of the user to get proper training prior to using a tripod or any other rescue equipment.