Rope access technicians are fast becoming the preferred option for high-risk services and maintenance solutions on a range of jobs and tasks traditionally performed on equipment like elevated work platforms, pulley operated work platforms or scaffolding.
Rope access workers can perform most jobs that require these heavy equipment mediums with minimal equipment and less disruption to a business or facility’s daily operations.
Often, rope access professionals can complete work faster and safer than these traditional services, saving property owners and managers significantly on equipment hire costs, added safety measures for bystanders, and time on the job.
What is a rope access technician?
A rope access technician is a qualified abseiler, also known as a rappeller.
Abseiling uses fixed rope systems and harnesses, allowing an abseiler or rope access technician to safely and securely ascend and descend a sheer face, like a cliff or a high-rise building. This rig also enables them to lock themselves in place when performing work.
Examples of the type of work that employs rope access technicians include:
- Height access window cleaning
- Building cleaning, maintenance and repair
- Confined space work
- Stand by rescue
- Lifting and much more
An abseiling specialist usually works on a two rope system, one that attaches to their harness, allowing them to move up and down and shift left and right, and one as a safety arrest in the unlikely event of a rope system failure.
These ropes attach to the structure, like a building, by what are known as anchor points.
Often, on a high rise building, anchor points are pre-planned during the building’s design and are permanently installed in strategic places around the building for rope access technicians to utilise.
Different anchor points can be installed or utilised on a building or rooftop.
Different types of anchor point
The type of anchor point that is selected for rope access applications can depend on several things, including:
- The height of the work
- The kind of work required
- The weight of the technician and equipment required
- The predictability of weather conditions in a given location
- State and Government OH&S specifications and more
Below, we will look at common anchor point types used for height-safety specialists and rope access technicians.
Even though rope access anchor points installation usually occurs during a building or structure’s design and construction, other rope access anchor points are used when permanent fixtures are not in place.
Surface mount anchor point
A surface mount anchor point is easy to install and generally used on metal-clad rooftops for fall arrest or restraint during maintenance and repair.
Concrete mount anchor point
A concrete mount anchor point is fixed into a concrete surface, such as a wall or rooftop and is either chemically fixed or fitted with a torque anchor. This is a prevalent anchor point installed with abseiling and rope access professionals in mind.
Surface mount anchor points
Surface mount anchor points are often used when rope access technicians are required to ascend over the side of a building when there is nowhere to install a concrete mount.
These common anchor points will generally have a ring, eyelet, or D-shackle for the rope access technician to attach his ropes and attachments.
Temporary anchor points
A skilled and experienced rope access technician will create a temporary rope access anchor point when no anchor point is available on a structure.
They are adept at assessing and isolating structures and fixtures that will make a secure anchor point using slings, cables and other utilities to create a safe point on which to attach their rig.
A permanent anchor point will have a government-mandated recommended weight load capacity that must be strictly adhered to. However, the rope access technician and their tools will generally fall well under that weight restriction.
If a temporary anchor point is created, the rope access technician is trained to assess that anchor point’s weight capacity. Often, the temporary anchor point will be tethered to a structural part of the building that far exceeds the strength the technician requires.
Portable anchor points
Portable rope access anchor points come in various configurations and sizes, including:
- Slimline roof mount anchorages
- Modular rigs
- Tripod systems and more
This is just another example of how versatile a rope access technician can be and how flexible their scope of work is in a diverse range of industries.
How much weight can an anchor point hold?
As previously discussed, an anchor point will always have a set weight load capacity, which must be strictly adhered to under OH&S laws in Australia.
The standard for anchor point load capacity in Australia and New Zealand comes under the AS/NZS 5532, part of the AS/NZS 1891 suite of standards for fall arrest systems governed by SafeWork Australia.
These weight load regulations are rated in measurements of force known as KiloNewtons or kN for short. The strength of an anchorage utility must include the extra pressure exerted on the anchor if the technician drops up to two meters.
The standard AS/NZS 5532 prescribes:
- For 15kN, or single-person fall arrest use, drop a 100kg load through 2 metres
- For 21kN, or two-person use, drop 150kg through 2 metres
Both of these standards must also be able to hold that load for three minutes after the drop without showing any signs of compromised structural integrity, like breaking or cracking.
These standards are established by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) after rigorous scientific testing.
Rope access technician Sydney
Call Abseilers United today if you require experienced and reliable rope access technicians in Sydney and surrounding areas.
We provide industry-leading solutions for a complete range of rope access services, including:
We strive to stay at the forefront of rope access solutions in Australia, providing world-class solutions to a wide range of Australian portable and industries.
To learn more about our diverse range of rope access solutions, contact our helpdesk on (02) 9976 6768, or send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of our consultants will respond promptly.