Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA)
IRATA was formed in the late 1980’s by a group of companies involved in the use of rope access techniques offshore, with the intention of providing a safer working environment for both its members and the rope access work force in general.
Since then IRATA has worked assiduously to improve safety standards and promote good practice throughout the industry. It is the sole global trade association for the work at height sector and has member companies on every continent.
The International Code of Practice published by IRATA provides detailed guidance on all aspects of industrial rope access including the selection, training and qualification of personnel and the correct use of equipment.
You can download the IRATA ICOP and other useful information here: http://www.irata.org/publications.htm
This publication is accepted as the bench mark standard for rope access and the British Standard for Industrial Rope Access (BS 7985: 2009, see below) draws heavily upon it.
You can find out more about IRATA and industrial rope access here: http://www.irata.org/index.html
Industrial Rope Access and the Law
In effect, all work at height in the UK, including rope access, is covered by the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended )otherwise known as WAHR 2005.
Although there are a (very) few exemptions, it would be fair to assume that if you are working on an industrial site within the UK, you must comply with these regulations.
Essentially, WAHR 2005 is a common sense piece of legislation that sets out a hierarchy of control measures for protecting people engaged in work at height (with preference being given to avoiding it altogether) and requires that when work at height is unavoidable, it is properly planned, managed and carried out by competent personnel.
You can find out more about these regulations here:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/735/contents/made and here:
The regulations detail a requirement for inspection of work equipment that fits very closely with the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
The British Standard for Industrial Rope Access is BS 7985:2009 and you can buy this standard from this site.
Buy or find out about British Standards and Legislation applying to rope access and inspection