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What is Rope Access
Rope access is a form of work positioning, initially developed from techniques used in climbing and caving, which applies practical ropework to allow workers to access difficult-to-reach locations without the use of scaffolding, cradles or mobile elevated work platforms MEWPs. Many companies worldwide can supply workers such as inspectors, window cleaners, welders, painters and cleaners who are trained in these techniques.
Rope access to a turret clock.
The industry is characterised by rigorous adherence to the following safety characteristics developed and controlled by IRATA International www.irata.org:
- When working a rope access technician always has at least 2 attachments, each having an independent anchorage point.
- When the worker is supported by ropes, each of the worker's ropes will have a fail-safe descent mechanism.
- All secondary tools and equipment (e.g. drills, sealant, etc.) are attached by lanyards to the worker's harness to avoid danger to people below.
- A minimum of two trained technicians are required for any job, each with the ability to rescue the other if needed.
- All technicians are independently assessed.
- All equipment is regularly inspected and maintained.
- Carefully refined codes of practice and working systems are used.
This approach has meant very few accidents since the beginning of this activity around 1980s.
Typical applications include:
- Inspection, painting and light construction on offshore oil platforms
- Window cleaning, repair and aircraft warning light maintenance on high-rise buildings
- Maintenance on aerials, telecommunication and electrical transmission towers (pylons)
- Construction assist on stadiums, spires, and other unique shape structures
- Rock stabilisation on cliff faces above roadways
- Inspection, documentation and access to large building facades