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Regulations & control

One of the prime motivations for the formation of IRATA in 1987 was the recognition by leading practitioners that the existing legislation did not cover rope access techniques. In the intervening years IRATA has worked closely with the HSE to formulate working philosophies for regulated rope access.  IRATA has developed and implemented three broad schemes to regulate and control safety issues.

International Code of Practice

The IRATA Guidelines for Safe Working, originally published in 1994, regulated the way in which rope access works should be carried out. The Guidelines enabled companies to fully integrate rope access safety procedures with existing Health and Safety legislation thus creating a realistic philosophy of working methods. The Guidelines also specified the plant and equipment to be used together with the appropriate European norms (ENs) to which working systems should conform.

The ICOP (International Code of Practice), which reflects current best working practice, has now replaced Guidelines and members of IRATA International are required, as a condition of membership, to comply with the principles of the code of practice. The document has been compiled using the experience of established rope access companies and is the result of many years of knowledge gained from working with various national, international, regional and trade-based health and safety organizations, to which IRATA International is indebted for their advice and assistance.

3rd party Membership Audit

All companies wishing to become members of IRATA must be independently audited by the Association to confirm that they are working to the guidelines. To ensure this all companies have their procedures vetted and then audited. Audits have both technical and quality assurance components to assess all aspects of rope access management.

Training & Certification

Since 1992 all technicians working within the industry are required to be trained and assessed in accordance with the IRATA “General Requirements for Rope Access Personnel". After training, the technicians undertake an independent assessment, and if successful are registered with IRATA and issued a log book and identification card. There are three levels of technician: Trainee (1), Operative (2) and Supervisor (3)

IRATA members provide clients with detailed method statements for any operation involving rope access. By identifying potential hazards and through effective risk management IRATA companies can produce a safe system of work. This progressive and proactive stance has led to documented accident rates being very low in comparison to other access industries.


Safety Bulletin SB37

Rope caught by moving elevator

Safety Bulletin SB36

Trade specific tasks and risk assessment

Safety Bulletin SB35

Dropped objects

Safety Bulletin SB34

Fall from height - during Level 1 revalidation training

Safety Bulletin SB33

Fall from height More Documents


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