Rope access is a form of work positioning, initially developed from techniques used in climbing and caving, which applies practical ropeworkto allow workers to access difficult-to-reach locations without the use of scaffolding, cradles or an aerial work platform. Rope access technicians descend, ascend, and traverse ropes for access and work while suspended by their harness. Some times a work seat may be used. The support of the rope is intended to eliminate the likelihood of a fall altogether. Rope access technicians use a back-up fall arrest system for the unlikely failure of their primary means of support. This redundancy system is usually achieved by using two ropes – a working line and a safety line.
The most common applications for modern rope access include inspection, surveying, maintenance, and construction on bridges, dams, wind turbines, towers, buildings, geologic slopes, and industrial plants. While inspection is the most common application, welding, cutting and heavy material handling can be accomplished by rope access professionals using specialized procedures. The industry is characterised by rigorous adherence to several key safety characteristics which include such criteria as.
Rope Access techniques provide a cost effective alternative to traditional access methods, such as scaffolding or mobile elevated working platforms. Using work positioning techniques, Industrial Rope Access is a proven method of achieving a safe work position at height or in areas of difficult access.
The certain trade associations such as IRATA and SPRAT have mandatory policies where member companies must submit all accident, incident and near miss occurrence in order to evaluate and compare the information from an entire industry. This highlights any trends in incidents and assists in the evolution of equipment and procedures allowing continuing improvement to work practices