Home > Industry Talk > Rope Access – The Smart Option

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As people become more familiar with Rope Access technique, they are realizing that previously inaccessible work locations or cost-prohibitive procedures can now become a reality – states Jayanth, Head, GlassHoppers, explaining about this technique to Clean India Journal.


Does your industrial chimney, plant tower, tall structure needs maintenance? Are you wondering whether one, scaffolding or rope access, will be the best solution in terms of budget & time?

Rope Access would be the smart answer. The Rope Access system is designed to not only allow workers to access a work site with ultimate safety, but it allows technicians the capability to move vertically and horizontally, to and from, up and out of that given work space.

It has become a fact that it is faster, safer and more cost efficient that other high angle options for working at heights. While scaffolding will always have its place in the construction industry, there are several benefits that industrial rope access will provide compared to the traditional scaffolding access.

The major benefits of Rope Access are:

• Cost – When it comes to cost, rope access is comparatively more affordable than scaffolding. Not only does industrial rope access require less equipment, it also is quicker and reduces wasted time on construction.

• Speed – Industrial rope access requires not as much of time scaffolding. While it may take days to erect the required scaffolding to complete a job, the rigging for rope access takes merely minutes to a few hours.

• Safety – Better safety figures than any other means of high access. Every rope access crew member has to pass through evaluations which will ensure they are fully prepared for performing work at height safely and capably.

• Flexibility – Particularly flexible and are often the only option for certain tasks. They do not require a large amount of open space beneath the work space.

• Disruption – Scaffolding is built from the ground up, it can affect access to the building. But rope access technicians work from the top down, causing less disruption to the building facades or building entrances.

• Aesthetics – Unlike scaffolding, industrial rope access creates slight architectural impact. On the other hand, scaffolding takes weeks to construct and is cumbersome which will not go unnoticed while it is in place.

According to the WASA Report of International IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) Work and Safety Analysis, hazards associated with these systems are very less. Injury rates, including all non-reportable injuries, fell within the range 2-4 per 1,000 workers for each of the qualified rope access technician categories. The reportable injury rate was 64 per 100,000 workers.

How does it work?

A worker is secured within an industrial harness, equipped with a system of Rope Access gear. Next, he is connected to two ropes (a main line and a back-up line), all of which work together to best connect and position a worker to reach the work space in the safest way possible. The rope access technician is suspended from one rope, while the second rope functions as a backup in the unlikely event that the first rope is defective.

The primary objective when using rope access methods is to plan, manage and carry out the work with minimal accidents, incidents or dangerous occurrences, i.e. to ensure a safe system of work is maintained at all times, and with no damage to property or harm to the environment. This is a team sustaining system that ensures a rescue component. No technician can work alone, there are always at least two people on site at any given time. This makes Rope Access one of safest way to accomplish work at height.

Like any other method of working at height, this should be regarded as a complete system, in which planning, management, competence and suitable equipment should be treated with equal importance, as each is dependent on the others to ensure a safe system of work.

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