WORKING AS A ROPE ACCESS TECHNICIAN

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Industrial rope access

Are you looking for a work at height? If you have already begun exploring your options, you may have come across scaffolding and MEWPs alternatives where employees use industrial ropes instead of platforms to reach a high or hard-to-reach location. You may even have noticed people working this way in real life, on bridges repairing metalwork or cleaning windows in office blocks.

Known as Industrial Rope Access, this method of accessing high and awkward zones is used in a variety of industries such as offshore oil and gas and construction in a variety of buildings and structures including wind turbines, aircraft platforms, and bridges.

Rope access technicians are employees specially trained and qualified to perform this type of service in awkward locations. Depending on the skill level, the technicians can do the following:

  • Commercial cleaning and painting
  • Inspections, NDT and safety investigations
  • Maintenance work and repair

Industrial Rope Access Trade Association

Industrial Rope Access Trade Association IRATA International is the UK recognized access to rope qualification. Rope access technicians can pursue three different skill levels: first level (trainee), the second level (general operator) and third level (manager).

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF TECHNICIANS?

Rope access is used to help professionals reach places that are not normally accessible. This technique significantly reduces the likelihood of death or injury. The technique is used around the world in many different applications, from the buildings cleaning to offshore oil platforms. Each individual project requires specific skills, experience, and equipment.

HOW DO YOU BECOME A QUALIFIED TECHNICIAN?

Training courses are in place to help employees acquire the necessary qualifications to become a technicians. The Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) was established in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s as a way to solve maintenance problems in the offshore oil and gas industry.

IRATA offers training courses to help those interested in accessing ropes acquire the necessary knowledge on how to use operational and rescue equipment, as well as how to effectively scale buildings and structures and associated safety measures.

Rope access

Facade maintenance
Facade maintenance at height
Rope access facade maintance

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT IRATA LEVELS?

IRATA currently has three phases:

Level 1: Trainee

During the course specialists learn:

  • General security
  • Introduction to Personal Suspension Equipment
  • Equipment Use and Limitations
  • Introduction to rope access ropes, their storage and maintenance.
  • Understanding the local environment
  • Workplace organization
  • Tool management
  • The main rising and falling
  • Knowledge of the highest level lifting system for rescue lifting

Level 2: General Operator

During the course specialists learn:

  • All skills from level 1
  • Ascending and descending
  • Rigging of suspended sand protection ropes including knots
  • How to Check Equipment Before Use.
  • Workplace organization.
  • Rope maneuvers.
  • Descending to rescue a colleague
  • Advanced tool management
  • Knowledge of lowering workers using the Top Lift system
  • Risk evaluation

Level 3: Supervisor

During the course specialists learn:

  • All Levels 1 and 2 skills
  • Advanced rope technique
  • Using the Top Life system for lifting and rescuing
  • How to Check Equipment
  • About by-laws, regulations and standards
  • Full risk assessment and working methods
  • Managing anchorages for multiple people

Level 3 technicians can supervise Level 1 and are qualified to perform internal training elements.

Rope access technician

WHAT DO ROPE ACCESS TECHNICIANS NEED TO CONSIDER?

It’s a physically demanding job that requires employees to be physically prepared and preferably with an aptitude for heights. For example, people with abseiling and caving experience may find picking up the rope handling techniques easier. People with other experiences, such as an electrician, can also find it easier to find a job in the workplace; these days, the industry is becoming more competitive, and technicians with specialized skills are often preferable.

An IRATA qualification is valid for three years from the date of assessment, but complete retraining is required upon qualification.  Technicians must practice the technique on a regular basis to maintain their qualification, if they do not complete the ropes for six months, they will need to complete a refresher course.

LOOKING FOR AN EXPERIENCED ROPE ACCESS COMPANY?

AlteriGroup is an Industrial rope access company with many years of experience in providing rope access and elevation work in various structures and buildings in Lithuania and throughout Europe. For more information, read about our services or contact us to discuss your project.