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FAQ

Which CSCS card do I require?

Following your request of information relating to CSCS Cards, I have attached a flowchart to assist you in the selection of the appropriate CSCS card for your background/experience.

Alternatively should you require further information directly from CSCS, please find their contact details below:

http://www.cscs.uk.com/contact-us/ 0344 994 4777. The helpdesk is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

 

Is a Level 3 able to certify rope access equipment ?

Simply being an IRATA Level 3 technician does not certify them to carry out thorough examination of personal fall protection equipment. Further training may be required in this specific area to ensure competence in carrying out the task.

Please find attached a link to our IRATA International code of practice - ICOP August 2014.pdf in particular:

• Information regarding competence can be found in part in the ICOP 2.4. 

Information regarding inspection, care and maintenance of equipment can be found in part 2.10 of the ICOP

 

Can a Level 1 or 2 work on site without a Level 3's supervision?

There are three levels (grades) of rope access technician: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, the third level being the highest. All worksites operated by IRATA International member companies have at least one IRATA Level 3 rope access safety supervisor on site as the person responsible for the safety of the rope access systems and the Level 1 and Level 2 rope access technicians who work under their supervision.

An IRATA International rope access team consists of at least two rope access technicians, one of whom has to be an IRATA International Level 3 rope access safety supervisor. Lone working is not allowed. 

IRATA International rope access safety supervisors are trained in first aid and are required to hold an in-date qualification. Management and supervision. There should be proper management and supervision of the rope access worksite.

Managers responsible for the rope access site should be:

a) competent in management skills;
b) have adequate knowledge of rope access technical procedures to enable them to manage the rope access work site competently.

Worksites using rope access require the supervision of rope access safety and of the work project itself. These two types of supervision may be the responsibility of different people or the same person. This code of practice covers only the supervision of rope access safety.  Under the IRATA International training, assessment and certification scheme, only Level 3 rope access technicians are permitted to be rope access safety supervisors.

Rope access safety supervisors should be:
a) competent in supervisory skills;
b) competent in rope access techniques appropriate to the particular worksite and should understand the limitation of those techniques;
c) responsible for hazard identification and risk assessment for rope access related tasks;
d) competent in workmate rescue/retrieval techniques appropriate to each worksite and be able to organize and put into effect a workmate rescue/retrieval appropriate to that worksite. Rope access technicians should work in teams of no fewer than two, one of whom should be a Level 3 rope access safety supervisor. NOTE There are many situations that require more than a two-person rope access team, depending, for example, on the nature of the work; site conditions; competency of the work team; potential rescue scenarios.

 

What colour coding methods can we use on our equipment for traceability?

Marking and traceability

Load-bearing rope access equipment should carry sufficient marking:
a) to enable identification of the manufacturer and, where appropriate, the model/type/class of
equipment;

b) so that it can be easily associated with its respective documentation, e.g. certificates of
conformity, examination and inspection records;

c) to allow further traceability, e.g. to enable the isolation of a rogue batch of components;

d) to meet any requirements of legislation, e.g. national regulations.
This is achieved typically by the use of an identifier, e.g. a manufacturer’s serial number, or by batch
marking with additional forms of identification, e.g. a coding system.

Equipment that does not have adequate marking made by the manufacturer should be indelibly marked in a manner that does not affect its integrity, e.g. by the use of: plastic or metal tags, which can be stamped with data and fixed with cable ties; a suitable paint; a suitable adhesive tape.
(The paint or adhesive should be of a type that is not capable of damaging the component being
marked and should be applied and positioned so that it cannot obscure any defect.)

Equipment such as ropes and harnesses could be indelibly marked by various methods,
e.g. by marking their identification on a tape, which is then fixed in place by a heat-shrunk clear plastic
cover. Lengths cut off a main rope could have the identity transferred to them sequentially; e.g. a
piece of rope cut off a main rope numbered A1 could be numbered A1/1, A1/2 etc. Connectors are
often colour coded to indicate an in-date inspection period, as older items often lack unique
identification and marking by the user can be difficult.

Metal items should not be marked by stamping, unless by agreement with the
manufacturer. This is because stamping can cause the potential for cracking of certain metals under
certain conditions and, therefore, great care should be taken if this method of marking is chosen. The
marking of metal items by engraving should only be carried out in such a way that it does not affect
the integrity of the equipment, e.g. by marking in a non-safety-critical area of a component. It should
be noted that stamping and engraving may damage any applied corrosion-resistant surface, e.g.
electroplating, and it is recommended that steps be taken to avoid this potential for damage, e.g. by
coating the indentations made by the stamping or engraving with paint.

Helmets should not be marked with adhesive labels or adhesive tape without permission
from the manufacturer, as some solvents used in adhesives can adversely affect the helmet’s
performance. Care should be taken that equipment made from webbing or rope is not marked with
damaging chemicals, e.g. inks, or products containing potentially harmful adhesives.

The identification and traceability details should be matched to records of use to help in the
equipment’s care and maintenance. This also applies to hired or sub-contractors’ equipment.

 

What happens if I do not work on ropes for 6months?

Rope access technicians not engaged in rope access work for six months or more should attend refresher training.

Our IRATA Training, assessment and certification scheme (TACS) states that:

If rope access technicians are not using rope access techniques regularly, they should be evaluated for competence prior to the commencement of operational duties. Refresher training in particular techniques may be required and the amount of operational supervision necessary afterwards may need to be adjusted, depending on the outcome of the risk assessment.
If rope access technicians do not use rope access methods for a period of more than six months, they are required to undergo refresher training. The training should be appropriate for each individual and should be recorded in his or her logbook, see ICOP Part 2, 2.5.2.8. Refresher training:
a) shall be carried out by an IRATA International Level 3 rope access technician;
b) shall not be carried out during operational duties;
c) may involve the need to undergo a full training course.

 

Who can sign a logbook?

Non IRATA L3 Signatures in Logbooks

The Training Committee are in the process of updating 032R procedures for IRATA registrations and direct entry into two annexes to the TACS document.

Whilst this is being carried out the only guidance for logbook signatures is in TACS 4.13 and where it is stated that:

Logbooks are issued by the IRATA International office and shall be maintained by the rope access Technician. Logbook entries shall be countersigned by the supervising Level 3 rope access Technician.

Under the heading Supervisor’s signature, all logbook entries shall be countersigned by the supervising Level 3 rope access Technician, who shall log their name (printed clearly), signature and IRATA International unique number.

NOTE: Rope access Technicians wishing to upgrade who are unable to provide Level 3 signatures should contact an IRATA training member company prior to booking on a course.

When contacted for advice and until we have a version of TACS annex B that has been agreed by the membership, the following applies:
• Technicians that are not always able to obtain signatures from an IRATA level 3 should have their hours signed by a person in authority who can verify that the hours are accurate and have been completed on a double rope system. The person approving the hours logged should print their name, position and leave a contact telephone number.

If this is done retrospectively, an official letter from an employing company verifying multiple entries is also acceptable.
Examples of people who may sign logbooks are:
• Rope access supervisor from other systems e.g. Soft L4 or Sprat L3, ARAA L2/L3 - (If unsure contact the local RAC for advice);
• Rope access project manager or company managing director.
Training companies and Instructors should ensure that the candidate has knowledge of the IRATA system before presenting the candidate for assessment.

When faced with logbooks containing non IRATA L3 signed hours, training companies and IRATA Assessors should be extra vigilant as to the validity of these hours. In such cases, in order to better evaluate the candidate’s rope access experience, Assessors should evaluate the candidate's previous workplace knowledge. Level 3 candidates should also successfully answer questions that will help to determine their level of knowledge of the ICOP and understanding of the IRATA system.

 

Anchor Points - Do you need to have engineer s inspection if your setting your ropes up around structural steel beams or just a competent person in rope access?   Are there guidelines on installing anchor point i.e. welded pad eyes?

Information on anchor selection can be found in our international code of practice (ICOP), here is the link - http://irata.associationhouse.org.uk/default.php?cmd=210&doc_category=268 click on the latest version (English).

Please reference the ICOP for the following further reading:
2.4 Competence;
2.7.9 Anchors;
2.11.2 The anchor system (anchors and anchor lines);
Annex F Safety consideration when installing or placing anchor devices used in rope access.

Please note that installation of eyebolts is not covered during a rope access training course and so further training is required to ensure the competence of the individual installing such an anchor.

 

Can you give me some information on how I can gain necessary qualifications?

The minimum age to become an IRATA trained Technician is 18.  Being accredited to IRATA Level 1 will enable you to carry out industrial rope access work under the supervision of an IRATA Level 3 rope access safety supervisor.  Industrial rope access is used in a variety of industry sectors including for example:
• Oil and Gas;
• Nuclear;
• Wind Energy;
• Rail;
• Construction;
• Marine, civil and geotechnical engineering.

You can visit www.irata.org and select ‘Members’ and then either search our IRATA member companies by either ‘by name’ or ‘Search Services’.  Our member companies each have their own website that you can visit, this will give you an indication as to what they offer in terms of services and perhaps may give you ideas to which career route you take?  Some companies offer an apprenticeship scheme e.g. wind energy sector whereby you can grow with the company and gain on the job experience.

 

Are Non-IRATA companies required to provide a Level 3 supervisor?

It is a condition of membership that all IRATA member companies have IRATA Level 3 technicians onsite, they are in place to provide rope access safety supervision.  For non-member companies this is not a condition and as such will operate outside our IRATA International Code of Practice.

Your employer however has a responsibility to provide you with a safe place of work including providing you with appropriate rope access safety supervision.  I would advise speaking with your employer to find out further information.  IRATA are not in a position to comment on non-member company policy and procedure as it is not the business of IRATA.

 

Can I convert my working hours from another association to an IRATA logbook?

Under the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) training, assessment and certification scheme (TACS) it is not possible to transfer previous work experience of a different rope access association into a current IRATA logbook.  IRATA does have a direct entry scheme, however this is only available to candidates working in a IRATA ‘development’ area.

 

What first aid certificate do I require?

As per our Training, assessment and certification scheme (TACS) 4.12 - Level 3 rope access technicians and employing companies are both responsible for ensuring that all first-aid certificates are appropriate and current during operational duties.

You are not required to show your first-aid certificates during your IRATA training and assessment, however as above you need to ensure you have current first-aid certificates that are ‘appropriate’ when carrying out IRATA Level 3 duties.  This is for you and your employer to decide.

 

If there is a maximum among of time you are allowed to work “in ropes” per day (without a break)? Are there any regulations from IRATA or does it depend on the country you are working in?

Please reference our IRATA International code of practice (ICOP) 2.11.10 - Welfare.  A free download can be sought from our website - www.irata.org under publications - ICOP. 
Also please reference your local legislation for information on work time/break periods.

 

What are safe working conditions?

With regards to your question there are many variables to consider here and so you will not find specific information detailing at what wind speed it is considered safe to work up to. 

For example the type of work being carried out may determine this as simple window cleaning compared to working with corrugated metal will have different consequences at different wind speed. 
Temperature, communication, height, team selection are a few factors to be considered here also.

I recommend further reading of our IRATA International code of practice (ICOP) which can be freely downloaded from our site - www.irata.org select publications then ICOP (all parts).  It is worth mentioning that we have an informative annex O in part 3 of the ICOP titled - The effect of wind and height on working times.

 

Do you have any information on harness suspension?

Please reference our IRATA international code of practice (ICOP), part 3 Annex G - Suspension intolerance for current information and guidance.  The ICOP is freely downloadable from www.irata.org select PUBLICATIONS/ICOP.

 

What are the Trainer to candidate ratios?

Details of the candidate to trainer ratios can be found in 7.4 in the TACS.
The main reason for providing this new candidate to trainer ratio is to increase the standard in the training being provided.  There is now an incentive for trainer member companies to seek level 3 instructors to enable a 6:1 ratio compared to a 4:1 ratio if using just a Level 3.  Those technicians aspiring to become instructors can begin their training experience at Level 2 as a trainee instructor and can train alongside a Level 3 instructor with the addition of a 2:1 ratio at Level 1.

Generally speaking it was decided that at Level 1 there was a lack of experience and that they would first need to gain operational experience before passing it on to candidates.

There are cases where certain Level 1s are more than capable and experienced as trainers, however, to the other extreme there has been cases where an inexperienced level 1 has passed a week previous and is now assisting a level 3 trainer.

 

What counts as one years’ experience between assessments?

For the avoidance of confusion, 1 years’ experience means a Technician is eligible for upgrade
assessment on the calendar day one year and one day after their previous assessment. E.g. 1st April 2014 Level 1assessment, 2nd April 2015 earliest possible L2 assessment

 

How many days after training can a technician have to take an assessment?

Breaks in training, or between training and assessment, shall not be longer than 60 days, after which candidates are required to attend a further training course in full. Evidence of qualifying prior
training must be presented to the training member company prior to assessment.

 

What are the safe working conditions when referring to wind speed?

Please refer to ICOP Annex O 1.1 to 1.4

 

Can I assess on the same date as my expiry?

Technicians are permitted to assess up until midnight of their expiry date

 

IRATA RESOURCES

Safety Bulletin SB41

Adverse Inclement Weather

Safety Bulletin SB40

Dropped Objects

Safety Bulletin SB39

Fall from Height

Safety Bulletin SB38

Entanglement

Safety Bulletin SB37

Rope caught by moving elevator

 

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