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Professional Rope Access: A Guide To Working Safely at Height

ISBN: 978-1-118-85960-5
376 pages
June 2016
Professional Rope Access: A Guide To Working Safely at Height (111885960X) cover image

Description

Guides the reader in the development and maintenance of a rope access program
  • Provides comprehensive guidance for employers, safety managers and rope access technicians to develop, maintain, and manage a rope access program
  • Offers specific guidance for writing a comprehensive managed fall protection plan that includes rope access
  • Thoroughly describes how to perform specific rope access maneuvers that can be used to offer greater safety when working at height
  • Shows how a well-managed rope access program can be used as a tool to get more work accomplished at a lower cost and with greater efficiency than conventional methods can achieve
  • Discusses and clarifies unique distinctions of equipment for rope access, as compared with equipment for fall arrest, positioning, and restraint
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors xiii

Foreword xix

Your Success xxiii

Preface xxv

How to use this book xxvii

Section 1 | Planning for Rope Access 1

Chapter 1 | What Is Rope Access? 3

1-1 Introduction 3

Why Choose Rope Access? 4

1-2 Foundation and Evolution of Rope Access 6

The Modern Rope Access System 6

Skills Required for Modern Rope Access Workers 7

1-3 Rope Access Compared/Contrasted with Other Disciplines 8

Rope Access Contrasted with Recreational Rappelling 8

Rope Access Contrasted with Controlled Descent 9

Rope Access Contrasted with Rope Descent Techniques 11

Rope Access Contrasted with Bosun’s Chairs 11

Rope Access Backup Contrasted with Other Backup Systems 14

WhereModern Rope Access Has Landed – The Bus You Take to Work 14

1-4 Compatibility and Work Safety 15

Fall Restraint 15

Fall Arrest 15

Fall Containment Systems 17

Suspended Scaffolds 17

Aerial Platforms and Man Baskets 17

1-5 Special Techniques 18

Aid Climbing 18

Lead Climbing 19

1-6 Practical Application of Rope Access 19

1-7 Summary 20

Chapter 2 | Rope Access and the Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Plan 21

2-1 Protecting Workers at Height 21

2-2 Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection 22

Policy Statement 22

Staff Responsibilities 23

Fall Hazard Survey 25

2-3 Hierarchy of Fall Protection 26

Types of Active Protection – Harness-Based Solutions 27

Choosing a System of Protection 28

2-4 Rope Access Work Plan 29

System Requirements 30

Safety in Rope Access Operations 31

Work Practices 32

2-5 Summary 34

Chapter 3 | Personnel Selection and Training 35

3-1 Introduction 35

3-2 Personnel Qualifications 35

Aptitude for Rope Access 37

3-3 Team Organization and Competencies 38

Technician Skills and Responsibilities 38

Supervisor Skills and Responsibilities 39

Program Manager Skills and Responsibilities 40

3-4 Training and Certification 40

Training Records 41

Training Outline 41

Advanced Levels of Certification 45

Rope Access Certification Bodies 46

3-5 Summary 47

Chapter 4 | Equipment for Rigging 49

4-1 Equipment for Rigging Rope Access Systems 49

4-2 How to Choose Equipment for Rigging in Life Safety Situations 50

4-3 The Difference Between Personal Equipment and Rigging Equipment 52

4-4 Rigging Equipment for Fall Arrest 52

4-5 Rigging Equipment for Cranes Versus Rigging Used in Rope Access 53

4-6 Rigging Equipment for Suspended Scaffolds 54

4-7 Rigging Equipment for Rescue 54

4-8 Rope 55

4-9 Connectors 59

4-10 Hardware 63

4-11 Mechanical Anchorage Connectors 65

4-12 Anchor Slings 67

4-13 Summary 69

Chapter 5 | Personal Equipment for Rope Access 71

5-1 Introduction 71

5-2 Essential Requirements 72

5-3 Harnesses 74

5-4 A Note About Comfort Seats (Seatboards) 76

5-5 Helmets 77

5-6 Lanyards 78

5-7 Connectors 79

5-8 Descending Devices 80

5-9 Rope Access Backup Devices 84

5-10 Ascenders 86

5-11 Gloves 88

5-12 Clothing and Personal Wear 89

5-13 OTHER PPE 89

5-14 Equipment Traceability and Recordkeeping 89

5-15 Summary 90

Section 2 | Skills for the Rope Access Technician 91

Chapter 6 | Rigging Concepts 93

6-1 Principles at Work in a System 94

Gravity 94

Friction 94

Angles 96

Vector Forces 99

6-2 Using the Principles 107

Mechanical Advantage 107

Load Ratios 111

Safety Factors 112

6-3 Summary 114

Chapter 7 | Rope Terminations and Anchorages 115

7-1 Rope and Knot Terminology 116

7-2 Rope Terminations 118

7-3 Manufactured Terminations 118

7-4 Knots 119

Stopper Knots 119

End-of-Line Knots 120

Midline Knots 124

Knots (Bends) That Join Two Ropes 125

Knot Safety 127

Hitches 128

7-5 Knots and Rope Strength 132

7-6 Anchorages 132

Classifications of Anchorages 133

Anchorage System Performance 134

Positioning the Anchorage System 135

Back-Ties 136

Direct Attachment 136

Load Sharing Anchor Systems 138

Angles in Anchor Systems 141

Change of Direction 142

7-7 Summary 143

Chapter 8 | Rope Access Systems 145

8-1 Compatibility 149

8-2 Access System 149

8-3 Backup System 151

8-4 Attachment to Technician’s Harness 152

8-5 Pull-through Systems 153

Pull-Through with Ground Anchor 153

Top Anchor Pull-Through with Knot 153

8-6 Changing the Fall Line 155

Directional Deviation 155

Rebelay (Re-anchor) Systems 156

Well-Being of the Technician 157

8-7 Summary 159

Chapter 9 | Descending 161

9-1 Introduction 161

9-2 Choosing a Descender 162

9-3 Choosing a Rope for Descent 164

9-4 Rigging for Descent 165

9-5 Getting on Rope 167

9-6 Managing the Descent 168

9-7 Tending the Backup Device 170

9-8 Passing a Knot 170

9-9 Passing a Deviation Anchor 173

9-10 Passing a Rebelay 174

9-11 Landing 177

9-12 Summary 178

Chapter 10 | Ascending 179

10-1 Selecting Ascenders 180

Handled Ascenders 180

Chest Ascender 181

10-2 The Complete Ascending System 181

Rigging the Chest Ascender 182

Rigging the Handled Ascender 184

10-3 Managing the Ascent 184

10-4 Changeovers 186

Changeover from Ascending System to Descending System 187

Using a Descender for Ascent 187

Rope-to-Rope Transfer 188

Passing a Knot in the Ropes While on Ascent 189

Negotiating an Edge or Obstruction While on Ascent 190

Passing a Deviation 191

Passing a Re-anchor (Rebelay) on Ascent 192

Transitioning Off Rope from Ascent, Onto a Platform 196

10-5 Summary 196

Chapter 11 | Advanced Techniques 197

11-1 Belays 198

11-2 Aid Climbing 201

11-3 Lead Climbing 203

11-4 Climbing with Twin Lanyards 206

11-5 Raising and Lowering Systems 207

11-6 Systems for Lowering 208

11-7 Systems for Raising 209

11-8 Cross-haul 211

11-9 Tensioned Ropes 212

11-10 Multiple Simultaneous Systems 214

11-11 Powered Assist Systems 214

11-12 Summary 215

Chapter 12 | Use of Powered Rope Access Devices 217

12-1 Precautions 217

12-2 Configuring the Device into the System 219

12-3 Configuration 1 (Sit on Top) 221

12-4 Configuration (Suspend Beneath) 223

12-5 Using the Device from a Fixed Position 224

12-6 Additional Considerations 226

12-7 Care and Maintenance 226

12-8 Summary 227

Chapter 13 | Rescue 229

13-1 Rope Access and Rescue 229

13-2 The Rescue Preplan 232

13-3 Self-Rescue 233

13-4 Coworker-Assisted Rescue 235

13-5 Noncommittal Rescue and Prerigging for Rescue 236

13-6 Co-Worker Assisted Rescue from Descent 238

13-7 Rescue from Ascent 240

13-8 Challenging Rescues 241

13-9 Standby Rescue 242

13-10 Professional Versus Coworker-Assisted Rescue 243

13-11 Conclusion 244

Section 3 | Program Administration 245

Chapter 14 | Developing a Rope Access Plan 247

14-1 Working Safely at Heights 248

Harness-Based Works 248

Fall Arrest 250

Work Positioning 250

Rope Access 251

14-2 Necessary Elements of a Rope Access Program 251

Rescue 251

One Rope or Two? 252

Avoid the Fall 253

Team Works 253

Team Documentation 254

14-3 Work in a System 254

Supervisor 255

SuitableManagement 255

Summary 256

Chapter 15 | Developing a Policy Statement 257

15-1 Questions to Consider 257

15-2 Putting it all Together 262

15-3 Congratulations! 263

Chapter 16 | Writing a Work Order 265

Summary 268

Chapter 17 | Establishing a Work Plan 269

17-1 Summary 273

Chapter 18 | Performing a Job Hazard Analysis 275

18-1 The Process 275

18-2 Content 276

18-3 Using the JHA 278

18-4 Summary 279

Chapter 19 | Fall Hazard Survey/Assessment 281

19-1 Conducting the Survey 281

19-2 Survey Contents 283

19-3 Using the Survey 283

19-4 Fall Hazard Mitigation 284

19-5 Summary 284

Chapter 20 | Creating a Rescue Preplan 287

20-1 Emergency Response Planning 287

20-2 Fall Rescue Planning 289

20-3 Coordination with External Resources 293

20-4 Summary 293

Chapter 21 | Training Records 295

21-1 Certification Records 295

21-2 Technician Records 296

21-3 Employer Records 297

21-4 Program Administrator Training 298

Chapter 22 | Equipment Inspection and Care 301

22-1 Specifying Equipment 301

22-2 Placing Equipment into Service 302

22-3 Equipment Inspection 302

22-4 Cleaning 303

22-5 Retirement 304

Chapter 23 | Rope Access Program Audit 307

23-1 Components of an Audit 307

23-2 Management 308

23-3 Practices 309

23-4 Equipment Management 311

23-5 Recordkeeping 312

23-6 Summary 312

Knowledge Check 313

Glossary 339

Index 343

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Author Information

Loui McCurley’s pioneering efforts in safe work at height include having helped found the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians, participating in the development of ISO 22846, and numerous other standards within ANSI Z359, ANSI 459, NFPA, ASTM, and more. Loui is committed to harmonizing regulatory requirements for work at height with practical, safe methods of work and verified technician skills. Her book Falls From Height: A Guide to Rescue (Wiley, 2012) was the first of its kind in fall protection. Loui is a passionate trainer and a frequent presenter at safety conferences including the American Society of Safety Engineers, National Association of Tower Erectors, VPPAC, and the International Technical Rescue Symposium.  
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