Are Rigging Work And Rope Access Work the Same?
Strictly speaking, no, they are quite different.
First of All Rigging
The Victorian Workcover Authority Guide to Rigging defines rigging as ‘work involving the use of mechanical load shifting equipment and associated gear to move, place or secure a load including plant, equipment or members of a building or structure and to ensure the stability of those members and the setting-up and dismantling of cranes and hoists’. It continues:
“There are four certificate levels involved in rigging: Dogging, Basic Rigging, Intermediate Rigging and Advanced Rigging. Basic Rigging Those qualified in Basic Rigging must know how to carry out work associated with movement of plant and equipment, steel erection, particular hoists, placement of pre-cast concrete, safety nets and static lines, mast climbers, perimeter safety screens and shutters, and cantilevered crane loading platforms. Intermediate Rigging Those qualified in Intermediate Rigging must know how to carry out work associated with all Basic Rigging competencies as well as the rigging of cranes conveyors dredges and excavators, all hoists, tilt slabs, demolition, and dual lifts. Advanced Rigging Those qualified in Advanced Rigging must know how to carry out work associated with all Basic and Intermediate Rigging competencies as well as the rigging of gin poles and shear legs, flying foxes and cableways, guyed derricks and structures, and suspended scaffolds and fabricated hung scaffolds.”
The actual fall protection/height safety component of a Basic Rigging course is quite small. Riggers are not trained as part of rigging competencies to use rope access techniques at all. The crossover however between rigging competencies and high level rope access skills are vast; many rope access technicians are also qualified riggers.
How Does Rope Access Fit In?
Modern rope access systems are a combination of working in restraint and work positioning. Generally speaking, when configured and used correctly, there should be little or no potential for a true ‘fall’ during a rope access procedure.
Rope access methods may be used on both natural and artificial surfaces & structures. Common tasks undertaken may include weeding cliff lines, cleaning windows on high rise buildings, carrying out maintenance work on oil rigs, performing technical inspections on dam walls, replacing light fixtures in a building atrium and so on. The list of possibilities is truly endless. Statistically speaking rope access is safer than both scaffolding and EWP(elevated work platform) methods and is currently used around the world by thousands of rope access technicians.