Rope access is a means of working at height or depth in locations that would be difficult or dangerous to reach by other means.
Its core principle is that of double protection and a ‘built in’ rescue facility. This means that a technician using rope access will always have two independent means of support, ensuring that in the case of user error or damage to their main attachment point a fall will not be sustained and that consequently the technician will be able to return to the ground safely.
Rope access techniques evolved from those used by cavers and were introduced to the oil and gas industry during the 1980’s. A trade association was formed at the end of the eighties to govern the use of rope access offshore – the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) – and IRATA guidelines for training and qualification of personnel have now become internationally accepted as representing best practice in all sectors of industry, both on and offshore.
We are a member of IRATA (number 8096/O) and passed our recent audit (October 2010) successfully, attaining recognition for our high standard of operating systems and procedures.
There is often a cost advantage in using rope access as opposed to other access methods, but this should be seen as a welcome side effect rather than a key selling point – we make a careful assessment of the nature of a project before recommending one access system over another and our technicians are also trained in the use of cherry pickers and other powered access platforms.
Axiom IRATA rope access technicians ( RATs) in action….
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