HISTORY OF IRATA
IRATA, the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association, was formed in the UK in the late 1980’s, to solve maintenance problems in the offshore oil and gas industry. Its formation was the result of an initiative of a number of leading companies who had begun to use industrial rope access techniques, to provide a safe working environment for the industry. The rope access technique developed by IRATA has now come to be used in a wide range of repair, maintenance, inspection and access work. Since it provides an unrivalled safety record, a quick set-up and dismantling time, positive environmental benefits and no need for invasive access equipment or disruption of the site, the IRATA system of rope access continues to enjoy increasing popularity throughout the world.
IRATA is now recognised as the world’s leading authority on industrial rope access. It has over 200 member companies around the world and has trained in excess of 70,000 rope access technicians worldwide. The Association directs and manages through its members the training of all workers seeking its qualifications. These member companies provide training or operational services, or both.
History of SPRAT
SPRAT was established in the mid 90’s to address the needs of a growing number of companies and operators employing rope access techniques in North America. While various forms of rope access had been used in industry for decades, the development of modern rope access systems collided with the growth of industries that provided conventional means of access such as scaffolding and swing-stages. These conventional methods required standard fall arrest systems.
Without specific standards and legislation in North America to support rope access systems, companies and operators were at times prevented from working by safety managers and legislators. SPRAT’s development of industry-consensus standards, including Safe Practices for Rope Access Work and Certification Requirements for Rope Access Work, not only raised the awareness of the safety and effectiveness of rope access systems, but also paved the way for California’s Department of Industrial Relations effort to create one of the first laws sanctioning the use of rope access systems in North America. Since then, Alberta and New York City have followed suit with support from SPRAT and its members.
SPRAT’s mission is to advance the safe use of rope access through education, developing standards, and administering certifications. Since 2001, thousands of rope access technicians representing dozens of companies and government agencies have been certified to SPRAT standards. Currently, SPRAT supports companies and technicians using rope access with regulatory support, networking, and opportunities to participate in developing industry-consensus standards.