Originally reserved purely for recreational sport, the art of using rope for vertical access to extreme locations was used to primarily enjoy adrenalin fuelled sports such as mountaineering, caving, and abseiling. It is now being put to more productive use to provide access to difficult to reach industrial areas such as offshore platforms, residential, and industrial properties.
Today the safety and benefits of IRA (Industrial Rope Access) are so widely known that it is now considered to be one of the safest methods to access vertical areas at altitude. IRA is in common use for cleaning, construction, building maintenance, lifting, and painting.
Such a system obviously needs to have strict safety protocols and codes of practice in place in order to minimize the danger of casualties. IRA currently enjoys the highest safety record in the field of difficult access systems, with IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) being the recognized industry standard.
Rope access systems were used and developed for climbing and caving in the 70's and since then the system has been fine tuned to such a degree that it has evolved into a technique that sees the least number of casualties throughout the difficult access sector.
There are many benefits to using industrial rope access with the minimal effort need to install the system being an obvious financial benefit. It also has a fraction of the time constraints imposed by other systems for installation. Pedestrian flow and traffic are also minimally impacted through the use of IRA.
There are a wide range of industrial applications which are suited to industrial rope access where work needs to be carried out at height. For instance, It can be used as a cheaper alternative to cherry pickers or scaffolding. IRA systems are also perfectly suited to cleaning gutters, maintaining and repairing the outside structures of buildings, and window cleaning.
Several other factors make industrial rope access the preferred alternative. There is minimal impact on the buildings and their surrounds which are being accessed and the time taken to install an IRA system is much less than other systems. Another benefit is that height restrictions are effectively removed for technicians to safely perform their duties.
With its reputation as a safe, reliable, and cost effective strategy IRA should be incorporated into all scenarios where work at height is conducted, be they industrial or domestic applications.
Things to Know About Rope Access
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