Rope Access is rope techniques developed for use in the oil and gas industry where buildings and installations are characterized by advanced structures. In recent years, access techniques in increasing extent also is used in land-based industries. Training in equipment and access techniques, team composition and employer responsibilities and supervision of personnel are challenges for personnel safety in rope access work.
Advanced and simple rope techniques are methods where the use of at least two ropes and climbing techniques are used as the main tool to access, security of personnel and rescue services in connection with the execution of tasks. One rope shall function as access, while the second rope is used as a back-up. Teams working with advanced or simple rope techniques shall be able to save each other.
Personnel who are certified in accordance with NS 9600 receive a certificate with a 3 year validity period. Personnel must be re-certified within these three years. All training takes place at certified training organizations.
There are 4 things that are particular to the Norwegian model:
• Safety Supervisors are certified after completing an assistant period (apprenticeship) of a minimum of 1 year. This certification is issued by an independent certification body.
• Team-composition: Shall normally consist of a minimum of 3 people, including the Safety Supervisor. There must always be a Level 2 operator on the team. The team may be reduced to 2 people if the additional requirements specified in NS 9600 are met. In practice, we can say that a two-man team is acceptable if the job and the rescue are simple. The team can have a maximum of 4 people, including a Safety Supervisor, with no more than 2 Level 1 operators.
• Certification of organizations providing rope access services (operational): Certified organizations will be audited annually. This audit is conducted by an independent certification body.
• Fall protection is part of the curriculum. There is a minimum requirement of 7.5 hours of fall protection training during Level 1 training.