Being a rope access technician can be daunting. Just ask Simon Wroe, who sampled the experience of being one for an article on The Guardian‘s website. Wroe recalled how he remained downbeat even while in the midst of Rats – as rope access technicians have been nicknamed – rigging ropes that would theoretically ensure he remained safe in the air. However, here, we have merely started touching upon why safety is vital to the rope access industry.
Safety has to be in both reality and perception
It’s easy to look up at someone carrying out rope access work at a significant height and want to silently pray for them. However, it’s not the kind of feeling that would be shared by the Rat in that situation – as it would be crucial that they are not only safe but also confident that they are safe.
“Up there, on a high level, if you start thinking: ‘What if this and that happened?’ you can get in trouble,” one rope access technician, Marcin Ciecka, explained to Wroe. “You have to think at all times that you’re safe.” One organisation, IRATA, is especially keen to ensure such safety for real.
IRATA prioritises safety for workers in rope access
On the Aims & Objectives page of the IRATA website, this organisation, from which rope access specialists here at SAS Rope & Rail have obtained qualifications, makes its commitment to safety clear. It sets out its aims “to promote and maintain high standards, safety, work quality and working practices for the industrial rope access industry” and “to be dedicated to the protection of individuals working in rope access”.
IRATA additionally explains that its primary activities are to “promote and maintain a high standard of: industrial rope access activities in terms of safety” and “prepare submissions and provide informed opinion and advice to government departments and others on matters concerning work-at-height health, safety and training”. Such a strong drive to preserve safety is unsurprising when we look more closely at what has the potential to go wrong for rope access technicians.
Examples of unfortunate occurrences that we can avoid
On the myRisks Information section of its website, the BBC outlines various examples of “what can go wrong” for rope access specialists. For instance, poor technique or the failure of an anchor could lead to a fall from height. Alternatively, items knocked or dropped off surfaces could strike a specialist, who could also suffer a rope burn should ropes or webbing material rub against their exposed skin. The specialist could even – should rescue capabilities be lacking – become stuck at height and, as a result, develop a condition known as suspension syncope.
However, here at SAS Rope & Rail, our technicians have been trained to avert such adverse happenings. Hence, when conducting rope access services such as masonry repairs, repairing and maintaining sealant and installing and inspecting eyebolts, they can help ensure rope access safety. Click the above link to read more about those services and how they could assist you.