Rope Access: "The use of suspension equipment to access a work position"
Rope access is similar to 'work positioning' however rope access involves the use of additional equipment. To save rope access operatives time when selecting their equipment we have produced a selection of rope access kits
Rope access is becoming ever widely used in industry enabling operatives to reach more difficult areas than would otherwise be possible. Rope access techniques are commonly implemented in the UK for cleaning large buildings, inspecting bridges/structures and steeplejack services to name but a few.
The development of rope access in the UK has grown from caving techniques and a few climbing techniques. In the beginning rope access was dominated by cavers and climbers, this changed when companies required rope access operatives to be able to perform specialist tasks. It is commonly agreed that it is easier to teach a tradesmen the skills required to perform rope access safely than to train a caver in the skills of non-destructive testing for example.
The equipment most commonly seen on a rope access operatives harness includes:
Rope access is now regarded as one of the safest means of access, so far it has resulted in not a single death since its introduction in the UK during the mid 80's. This remarkable achievement has been reached through excellent working practises, high quality equipment and most importantly competent operatives who are assessed independently. Rope access is implemented in the UK under the guiding body IRATA.
IRATA - The 'International Rope Access Trade Association' was set up to formalise training, a training program and offer guidance to rope access companies. IRATA have published the 'Guidelines on the Use Of Rope Access Methods for Industrial Purposes' and the 'General Requirements for certification of personnel engaged in rope access'. Both of these documents should be referred to as your primary information source when undertaking work or training personnel.
British Standard Code of Practice BS7985:2002 has been published for rope access in the UK. Titled 'Code of practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes'.
Descent using Petzl products and rope access techniques
Ascent using Petzl products and rope access techniques
Moving along under an overhang using Petzl products and rope access techniques