What is rope access?
Rope access is a form of work positioning, initially developed from techniques used in climbing and caving, which applies practical rope work to 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. Sometimes 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.
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 specialised procedures. The industry is characterised by rigorous adherence to several key safety characteristics which include such criteria as:
- When working a rope access technician always has at least 2 attachments, each having an independent anchorage point.
- When the rope access technician 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 to IRATA standards.
- All equipment is regularly inspected and maintained.
- Carefully refined codes of practice and working systems are used.
What are the benefits of rope access?There are many benefits in using for rope access. Unlike traditional access methods, custom rope access solutions can be designed to fit various applications. The main benefits of rope access are:
- Versatile: Rope access professionals can apply the techniques to a wide variety of environments, from confined-space penstocks to tower structures to complicated steel installations.
- Cost-effective: Rope access is very economical. Because fewer personnel are required, this means faster and safe completion of workscope which effectively means lower overall costs.
- Efficient and quick: Rope access systems are installed and dismantled quickly and require fewer personnel than traditional access methods. Less interference with other facility operations means less disruptions and minimized downtime.
- Environmentally friendly: Rope access techniques and equipment has minimal effect on the surrounding environment compared to traditional access methods.
Independently certified rope access technicians uphold an exceptional safety record which makes it one of the safest jobs within construction industry.
Do I need rope access services?
There are many costly alternative means of working at height, however if you have a project on a tall structure and would like to provide a safe, efficient and cost effective environment for everyone involved, then rope access would be the primary solution for working at height for you!
Our rope access and confined space rescue services can be applied to requirements in Oil & Gas Construction, Maintenance, Civil Engineering, Bridges, Railways, Petrochemical industry and Renewable Energy sectors. C&D Access is a fully insured for industrial rope access company, providing working at height services worldwide.
All C&D Access technicians are certified to the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) standards and 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.