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Working At Height

What is Rope Access & GWO Training—and Why Do You Need It?

Training Fall Protection / GWO / Rescue

Rope Access and Global Wind Organisation (GWO) training are contemporary instructional programs for employees who work at heights and the qualified personnel who supervise them. These specialized training programs are designed to furnish professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties and provide rescue operations. They are crucial for ensuring the safety and proficiency of individuals working in high-risk environments with ropes and associated fall protection equipment.

With the proper equipment and training, rope access is a safe, versatile, and efficient way for workers to perform their tasks. It is employed in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Inspection, maintenance, and repair of rooftop building services equipment
  • Oil and gas production and petrochemical plants
  • Power plants, wind turbines, and hydropower facilities
  • Shipping and maritime ports
  • Tall buildings for window washing, façade maintenance, painting, and other tasks
  • Manufacturing and processing industries for large equipment installation and servicing
  • Rock scaling and geological surveys
  • Film and television set production
  • Confined spaces
  • Any other work-at-height industry or application where rope access is used

Diamonds in the rough – the many facets of rope access training

Rope access training teaches individuals various skills, background knowledge, and understanding of the latest regulations and standards about working at height. Two leading professional organizations govern rope access training: the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT).

Both organizations direct and regulate certification programs for members and sanction third-party instruction providers to offer and conduct certified training. They seek to ensure that workers using rope access can complete their tasks safely and efficiently with minimal accidents or damage to property or the environment. The certification programs for IRATA and SPRAT are three-tiered; each course level builds upon the previous level.


A Capsule of IRATA Training

IRATA was established in the late 1980s in the United Kingdom to develop safe practices for rope access in the offshore oil and gas industry. The techniques and training it developed became a resource and standard for rope access in many industries. There are three levels of training:

IRATA & SPRAT Rope Access

Level 1 – Entry Level

This introductory-level course provides classroom instruction and the fundamental skills for rope access work under the supervision of a more experienced (IRATA Level-3) technician. Successful students will acquire basic skills for equipment inspection, rigging, climbing, descent control, and rescue procedures. The course culminates with a practical and theoretical assessment. Graduates are certified for three years.

IRATA & SPRAT Rope Access

Level 2 – Intermediate

The second-level course is designed for Level-1 technicians who have a minimum of one year of experience with at least 1,000 hours of rope access logged and current Level-1 certification. It covers advanced rigging and climbing techniques, more complex rescue procedures, practical and theoretical applications, and the ability to supervise Level 1 technicians. After successful completion of the hands-on training and written exam, graduates are certified for three years.

IRATA & SPRAT Rope Access

Level 3 – Supervisor

The highest level of IRATA training is designed for those with at least 1,000 hours logged in rope access and one year as a Level 2 technician. It provides comprehensive knowledge of rescue techniques, site supervision, work techniques, legislation, and IRATA certification. Level 3 technicians who complete the course and written exam can supervise rope access projects. Certification is valid for three years

A GWO Training 

The Global Wind Organisation provides training explicitly aimed at the wind energy sector, ensuring workers are safe and competent. GWO published its first training standards in 2012.

Basic and advanced programs provide theoretical instruction and hands-on training. Upon completing a written exam, graduates are certified for two years. The training covers:

Training Fall Protection / GWO / Rescue

Basic Safety Training (BST)

The full suite of GWO basic training includes four modules: working at height, manual handling, fire awareness, and first aid.

Advanced Rescue Training (ART)

The advanced GWO course has four detailed modules:

  • Hub, Spinner and Inside Blade Rescue (HSIBR)
  • Nacelle, Tower and Basement Rescue (NTBR)
  • Single Rescuer: Hub, Spinner and Inside Blade Rescue (SR: HSIBR)
  • Single Rescuer: Nacelle, Tower and Basement Rescue (SR: NTBR)

On the Train to Safety

IRATA, SPRAT, and GWO training programs emphasize hands-on experience as well as classroom instruction to ensure that workers are prepared for the challenges of their respective fields. Rigorous assessment to earn these certifications is critical for maintaining high safety standards and operational efficiency in industries in which working at heights is necessary.

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You have come to know Kee Safety through our high-quality products and services. Our products
help you separate people from hazards and remain compliant to industry regulations. We are
now able to offer you a full suite of safety training and compliance services to continue the
mission that started with our products.

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