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Professional Rope Access
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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

About the Author

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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