Window cleaning of tall commercial building by four rope access technicians
Rope access technician equipment up close

What Is Rope Access?

Rope access is a method of work positioning in difficult to reach locations. It was developed from techniques used in climbing and caving and has evolved over the years to what it is today. In Vancouver, it is commonly used to complete work on the side of buildings over 5 storeys, without having to use scaffolding or aerial man lifts. Rope access allows a much safer approach than traditional methods of repelling down a building. In order to be a certified technician, one has to complete a 5 day, 40-hour course and evaluation. 500-1000 hours have to be logged and signed off between levels before you can take the next level course.

Recent changes in British Columbia Work Safe regulartion (Rule 34) allow for the use of rope access as outlined by trade associations SPRAT (Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians) and IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association). Grime Fighters was at the heart of the movement and all of our high rise staff are certified by SPRAT and/or IRATA. Our rope access division is managed by a Level 3 IRATA/SPRAT technician and each of our sites are managed by a Level 2 rope access technician.

In order to use rope access in BC the following must be in place:

  • Technicians must hold a valid certificate and keep an up-to-date log book
  • When using a rope access systems technicians always have at least 2 attachments, each having an independent anchorage
  • All secondary tools and equipment (e.g. squeegees, drills etc.) must be attached by lanyards to the worker’s harness to avoid danger to the people below
  • A minimum of two trained technicians are required for every job, each with the ability to rescue the other if needed
  • A minimum Level 2 technician on site
  • All equipment is regularly maintained and inspected
  • Carefully refine codes of practice, working systems and rescue plans used