Rope Access or industrial climbing is a form of work positioning, initially developed from techniques used in climbing and caving, which applies practical rope-work to allow workers to access difficult-to-reach locations without the use of scaffolding, cradles or an aerial work platform.
Rope access has a wide variety of benefits and advantages over other means of access and it is important for companies to be aware of these. From its incredible record of safety to its speed and efficiency, rope access stands out as one of the best works at height solutions in the industry. Here are some brief benefits:
For the most part, nothing is inaccessible with rope access. Technicians are capable of adapting to a variety of different environments, terrains, conditions, and structures due to the flexibility of rope access equipment. Making it easier to reach the harder more confined spaces, namely architectural designs that do not permit easy access for maintenance purposes and confined spaces. In addition, since no ground space is necessary with rope access, it can be on structures where the ground-level terrain is not stable or level (such as offshore structures).
This may be perceived as a “Dare Devil’s” field for accessing work as a last resort. In fact, it is used as a system by trained professionals that is safer than other access options. To date, the rope access trades have maintained an excellent safety record, with 7,500,000 man-hours expended with ZERO lost-time accidents. Technicians are attached to two independent anchor points (supporting 5,000 lbs. or greater). And a backup line is always used. Also, there is The Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT). This is a trade association that facilitates standard safe practices and certification of personnel in the U.S.
With rope access work, both mobilization and set-up time is a lot quicker than other means of access. The rigging itself takes a couple of hours at most and can often take mere minutes. This means that workers can get started on the task at hand without too much preparation, as well as get to where they need to be very quickly, no matter how obscure or complicated. As such, rope access stands apart from the scaffolding which can take days to set up and take down – not ideal when time is a priority!
With less equipment, less setup time, and less manpower required to perform rope access work,more often than not it incurs fewer costs than other methods of access. The increased level of production that results from the speed and efficiency of rope access makes it a great value for money on the whole. A cost-effective job is naturally a less stressful one.