Rope access technicians are experts at heights, true vacuum professionals, specialists in difficult accesses and confined spaces. They must have a perfect command of rope access and movement techniques. To obtain the certificate, as in France, the CQP (Certificate of Professional Qualification of Work by Rope) requires a long training period. Rope access technicians worldwide are constantly contributing to the development of innovative progression and fall protection techniques. Their knowledge and experience as rope access technicians (training, certificate, and experience) would be of no use if they did not have real skills in the more traditional trades (masonry, plumbing, welding, painting, glassware…).
At the beginning, we specialized in commercial buildings, and then we started with industrial buildings, where the requirements of the MASE certification (Manual for the Improvement of the Security of the companies) allowed us to structure ourselves better. The industry is one of the media where rope work situations are very varied but also more demanding. The response must be fast, effective, and safe. For example, in 1997, a customer asked us to clean the inside of a 90 m high boiler with accumulations of slag, especially lime. We mobilized all the workers of the company, divided into day and night shifts; we acquired new equipment such as self-ventilated masks for all participants. In times when safety and efficiency are essential, the cohesion and identity of the company are built. Strong bonds are established between team members, and their shared experience can greatly help the company for future projects.
We are currently managing works of great intensity, such as recently the complete restoration of a 145 m high combustion chimney in Martigues. For the company, it meant stopping production for three weeks and us, more than 2000 hours of work (a new application of epoxy paint, the repair of the catwalks and safety ladders, change of the pipes, the fixing braces, and the nozzle burner, repair the light beacon system and inspect all welds).
We also started work on large-scale works, such as the restructuring of the concrete of social protection houses (10,000 linear meters in 18 months) or also the construction of a 13-ton metal walkway at the bottom of the Gorges du Verdon (Provence, France).”
Profile of Saïd El Haddaoui, rope access technician
Saïd is the oldest PROFIL worker. He started working at the company when he was 17 years old. He started as a bricklayer from the ground up: preparing materials, tools, and pallets before passing them on to François Ranise, who worked at height. His sense of organization and order helped him to evolve together with PROFIL. He was in charge of managing the company’s store, preparing and monitoring the material, purchasing supplies for the works, and the global organization. But his desire to work abroad was much stronger. To get the skills necessary for rope work, he joined a caving club and practiced this activity every weekend. Before long, his ability to progress by rope became apparent, and he was finally able to enter the CQP formation. After obtaining the diploma, he joined the team of technicians by rope. Currently, he occupies a workplace as a construction manager in urban ropework and is a happy man who enjoys the outdoors, and whenever possible, he wants to work in front of the sea.
We are proud to offer the SPRAT Rope Access Level 1-3 courses, each of which is a six-day course. These courses were developed by the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT), the organization that sets the standard used by industrial rope access technicians in North America. Rope access allows people to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible or to which access would be prohibited by other means of access such as elevators, cranes, or scaffolding.
Our instructors are SPRAT level III certified and have practical experience working in the field. Using their knowledge, we have developed a training center that provides simulated real-world environments where workers can develop their high-angle rope access and rescue skills to be proficient in overcoming challenges. Challenges they will encounter at work. Students taking this course will learn:
Bottom components of fall protection systems used for rope work
How to use anchors, connections and safety harnesses suitable for rope work
Be able to descend and climb a rope
Understand a risk management program, a work procedure, and an emergency plan
Various knots useful in rope access work
Be able to perform a rope transfer
Be able to make deviation passages and knots, and secondary anchors
Be able to perform a simple rescue with a victim in descent mode
For high productivity and efficient operation of your business, it is important to maintain all of your infrastructure, facilities, and buildings properly. Unfortunately, this is not always straightforward as some structures or equipment can be located several meters in height or are difficult to access.
Fortunately, there is rope access, a specific technique to make all parts of your infrastructure as accessible as possible and thus allow you to maintain and manage it. In this blog, we’ll explain what Rope Access exactly is, what it can be used for, and what IRATA has to do with it.
What is rope access?
In short, rope access is the use of specific roping and climbing techniques to safely access hard-to-reach facilities and sites. It involves the use of strong ropes, tools, equipment and certain positioning techniques.
Work and height maintenance experts use rope access when other methods such as scaffolding, cranes, and hoists are not sufficient to safely reach certain places or facilities. This often involves great heights, depths, confined spaces, and areas above water.
this technique aims to carry out work in a safe and precise manner to avoid damage to infrastructure or machines, dangerous situations, or accidents. It is an innovative system for which a structured implementation and a correct risk analysis are important.
Rope access therefore has interesting advantages, namely: a low impact on the environment because there are no obstacles, a quick start-up and dismantling time and guaranteed safety.
Rope access applications
Rope access experts can be used in a variety of industries and situations. In most cases, scaffolding will be used, but when this is not practical or a faster solution is needed, rope access may be the perfect method. It also guarantees a safe working method in high or hard-to-reach places.
This technique is often used for technical maintenance, cleaning of specific parts or coating work on metal structures, assembly and coating, etc.
Many industries use rope access as a safe method for maintenance at height. Think of the industrial sector, offshore oil and gas, energy and petrochemicals, but also the maintenance of office buildings.
When talking about rope access, IRATA is often mentioned in the same sentence. Our rope access specialists are IRATA certified. But what exactly does this mean and why is it important?
IRATA stands for Industrial Rope Access Trade Association and specializes in the safe and correct performance of rope access techniques. This is the standard for the correct use of the technique so that risks and dangers are considerably reduced when performing maintenance work at height or in hard-to-reach places. Each IRATA member must follow certain guidelines and rules which the organization controls. The IRATA International Code of Practice (ICOP) provides such guidelines for the use of rope access under specific working conditions.
IRATA, therefore, organizes specific training and assessments to obtain the certificate. Each member must renew their certificate every three years. If an aerial worker has not climbed for six months, they should also take a refresher course. IRATA uses 3 levels:
Level 1: expert who is supervised by a supervisor.
Level 2: a professional who must be able to perform more difficult techniques but always under the supervision of a supervisor.
Level 3: The supervisor who has the best rope access skills and leads others.
In addition, IRATA members are at the forefront of technological innovations that allow safe, efficient and effective access to hard-to-reach places or when working at height.
Do you want more information on the safe maintenance of your industrial facilities or hard-to-reach infrastructure? Are you looking for an experienced partner in the field of safe and high-quality working at heights? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Iris. Our certified employees will explore the possibilities with you.