How To Identify Safe Rope Access Work

How To Identify Safe Rope Access Work

Employers in many fields are finding that an industrial rope access system can prove to be faster, less expensive, more versatile, and safer than traditional work access methods.  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 specialized procedures. Facility managers have found Industrial rope access Sydney to be exceptionally cost-effective compared to conventional methods of access like scaffolding. In many cases, the inspection can be done more thoroughly and effectively without the obstructions commonly presented by scaffolding.

Furthermore, properly trained and certified rope access technicians uphold an exceptional safety record compared to nearly all other industrial occupations. Savings of fifty per cent or more are not uncommon when a facility chooses to employ technicians trained in rope access instead of using conventional methods of access. Cost savings are attributed to shorter facility shutdowns, less personnel required for a shorter duration, and lower equipment costs.

The following is a brief overview of what we have learned in over a decade of helping employers create programs that leverage the benefits of rope access, ensure job site safety, and minimize liability exposure.

What Is Rope Access Defined By?

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Rope Access is defined by the use of ropes and specialized hardware as the primary means of access and support for workers. A rope access technician descends, ascends, and traverses ropes for access and work while suspended by a harness or a work seat. The support of the rope should eliminate the likelihood of a fall altogether. Rope access workers use a backup fall arrest system in the unlikely failure of their primary means of support. This redundant system is usually achieved by using two ropes - a working line and a safety line.

The following checks will help you make sure if the Rope access provided is safe or not!

1. A Proper Rope Access Management System

An appropriate written operating procedure outlining the management system for training, equipping, and supervising rope access operations is the first component. Safe Practices for Rope Access Work, International Guidelines on the use of rope access methods for Industrial Purposes, is a good place to start.

These are general guidelines. A company's written procedure should take into account the unique operating environment, client requirements, and local legislation. Many companies hire a consultant that has experience writing rope access procedures.  A company using rope access should designate a rope access program manager to implement and maintain the rope access management systems.

2. Double Safety Equipments And Personal Protection

Individuals’ own personal work clothing must be in good condition and warm enough for the prevailing conditions. Safety must not be prejudiced by cold or other such adverse Conditions. Normal easily washable undergarments such as fibre piles are recommended. Clothes shall be close-fitting for ease of working and to avoid catching in equipment. Appropriate personal protective equipment is provided. This includes coveralls, helmets, gloves, boots and weatherproof garments. Thermal undergarments are issued and the layering principle should generally be used in preference to over-jackets to allow warmth to be maintained without interfering with rope access equipment.

3. Rope Access Training

Industry standards give performance and training criteria for employees performing rope access work. The certification system is divided into three levels. 

A specified amount of experience is required for rope access Sydney to progress to the next level, and candidates generally receive about 40 hours of training per week to meet the performance criteria prior to their evaluation at each level. 

Following this training candidates are evaluated through a written exam and a field practical.

4. Separate Equipment Management System 

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An Equipment Manager is usually designated to maintain the rope access equipment management system. Each piece of safety equipment is given a unique identifier and inspected before being placed into service.  This unique identifier allows the equipment to be traced back to its date in service and inspection record. While each technician inspects his or her own equipment on a daily basis, periodic inspections usually twice annually are conducted and documented by the Equipment Manager.

Each piece of equipment must be compatible with the other components of the system. Without specific testing, compatibility isn't always obvious, especially when the gear is used outside of the manufacturer's original intended purpose. Testing conducted by rope access technician and their partners has shown that some equipment is especially sensitive to variations in rope structure and diameter, for example. The best way to make sure that your equipment is compatible is to test it yourself, get advice from a knowledgeable dealer, and seek independent testing data.

5. Rope Access Supervision 

Proper supervision is essential to the rope access safety management system. A certified Rope Access Supervisor is actually required on every rope access project site in order to maintain compliance with the systems. Make sure your team has one. 

Ultimately, a properly qualified and certified Rope Access Supervisor, with the support of rope access companies Sydney, should be able to identify and correct any gaps in the management systems, staff training, and equipment protocols to ensure safe operations.


With strong management, training, equipment, and supervision systems, employers will find that Australian height safety service delivers results unattainable by conventional means. These are the basic things to identify if the rope access is safe for working or not. With these, the clients benefit from increased productivity, less facility downtime, fewer lost-time incidents, and, in many cases, access to previously inaccessible areas.

Published by Kate Brownell

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