Ropes access allows workers to reach high, out-of-the-way places without the need of traditional scaffolding, cradles, or elevated work platforms. A rope access technician will utilize a harness and maybe a rope access work seat to safely descend, ascend, or traverse ropes.
During the 1980s, rope access became widely used in the manufacturing sector. Since then, industry groups such as the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) have standardized the practice, making it a safe and effective means of accessing previously inaccessible areas. Rope access can be used in many different contexts and for many different tasks nowadays. Window washing, maintenance, and support are three of the most popular applications in the public sector.
Non-destructive testing is the most typical application in industrial settings (also simply known as inspections).
Technicians who work with ropes typically employ more than one failsafe to protect their own safety and that of others in the event of a system failure.
There are two examples of redundancy:
An additional fall arrest system that employs a double-roped system consisting of a working rope and a safety rope.
The addition of two more anchors, one as a backup to the primary one.
Ropes access is beneficial because it allows workers to access inaccessible regions quickly and safely, allowing them to get their jobs done with minimal disruption to other activities. Rope access generally minimizes both the time workers are exposed to risk and the severity of that risk when compared to alternative modes of access to such positions.