The steeplejack has always possessed the skill set to be able to access almost any structure without exception, using a wide variety of access methods.
Rope access has historically been one such skill set offered by a steeplejack, however rope access like other access methods must only be selected following the completion of a risk assessment and having applied the hierarchy of control for working at height.
Why use steeplejack access ladders when powered access is available, why use rope access when motorised temporary access cradles could be installed? Both questions only begin to resonate following an incident and a need to affect a rescue has taken place.
Rope access is quick and easy to assemble providing speedy access to an often awkward work location, but consider now a rescue scenario be this above or below ground level and the reliance on the rope access rescue equipment and the rescuer is then put to the test. The ability of even a highly trained rope access rescuer who may have rehearsed a mock rescue is now also put to the test, the reality of which is very difficult to ever fully second guess until reality calls and the situation demands the rescuer swings into action. Will the rescuer freeze? will he panic? or will he just simply become traumatised with the real life rescue situation that he now faces? The truth is no one knows and even with all the training under the sun and having completed numerous mock rescues, in that moment only then will the real situation see a true response of the individual/s tasked with the rescue.
Now consider a mortorised access cradle which may cost a little more to install but this would usually be achievable in most circumstances within one day. Immediately this access cradle provides so many advantages and benefits over rope access, these include but are not necessarily limited to;-
- The removal of suspension trauma that could be encountered when working in ropes and a rescue situation
- Greater control preventing falling objects. Tools remain within the confines of the cradle
- Operatives are afforded greater movement – ergonomics
- As part of a work station access egress system the cradle provides ample room for a casualty to be transported to ground level on a rescue stretcher
- Reliance on rope access rescue techniques
All of sudden defaulting to rope access doesn’t appear to attractive!
For more information on the use of temporary access cradles please contact firstname.lastname@example.org