OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 41 Work Requiring Rope Access

Industrial rope access work

Industrial rope access work is defined in the OHS Code as work activities at height which incorporate a working line, safety line and a full body harness in combination with other devices that allow a worker to ascend, descend and traverse to and from a work area under his or her own control.

The advantage of industrial rope access work is primarily the speed at which workers can get to or from difficult locations. In some cases, the cost or difficulty of using other means of access can be prohibitive. Rope access tends to be at its most efficient when used for inspection and similar light to medium duty tasks such as

  • inspection and testing – surveys, non-destructive testing,
  • maintenance and repair – sealant installation, replacing cladding and glazing,
  • cleaning and painting – jet spray, spray/roller/brush painting, and
  • geotechnical work – surveying, rockfall prevention.

An industrial rope access system as required by the OHS Code requires two independently anchored vertical lifelines. One lifeline provides a means of primary support to the suspended worker – the working line. The other line provides backup security to the suspended worker should the working line fail or there is an equipment malfunction – the safety line. Both lifelines are used in conjunction with a full body harness and other ascent and descent devices whereby the suspended worker, responsible for his or her own progression, can access a work area by means of ascent, descent or traversing the lifelines.