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  • Mick Flaherty CEO of Total Solutions on the spire of the Burj Khalifa

Rope Access

IRATA International’s rope access system is a safe method of working at height where ropes and associated equipment are used to gain access to and from the work place, and to be supported there.

The advantage of using rope access methods mainly lies in the safety and speed with which workers can get to or from difficult locations and then carry out their work, often with minimal impact on other operations and the nearby area. Another major benefit is that the combination of the total man-hours and the level of risk for a particular task (man-at-risk hours) is often reduced when compared with other means of access and their associated risks and costs.

The primary objective when using rope access methods is to plan, manage and carry out the work with minimal accidents, incidents or dangerous occurrences, i.e. to ensure a safe system of work is maintained at all times, and with no damage to property or harm to the environment. IRATA International has in place a continuously evolving regime of work procedures that members are required to follow and which are monitored for compliance to ensure that a safe system of work is established and maintained. This sets IRATA International member companies apart from rope access companies that are not subject to such a rigorous scheme.

Like any other method of working at height, the application of rope access should be regarded as a complete system, in which planning, management, competence and suitable equipment should be treated with equal importance, as each is dependent on the others to ensure a safe system of work. This Code of Practice gives recommendations and guidance on the use of rope access methods to provide such a safe system of work. Part 1 sets out fundamental principles and controls. Part 2 expands on Part 1, providing more detailed guidance. Part 3 is a series of annexes, which give advice on the rope access aspect of associated work practices and information on other relevant topics. Several of these annexes are still under development. Part 4 gives links to relevant national legislation and Part 5 provides a bibliography. The parts should be read in conjunction with each other, but particularly Part 1 with Part 2.

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