BBC rope access advice

Nice little film from the BBC on planning rope access jobs. Nice to see they have all the same considerations as those of us doing more mundane work, and good to see a few friends and colleagues popping up there.

BBC Academy – tips for working with ropes

If you are looking for rigging expertise or safety supervision for filming, or for rope access trained cameramen, please get in touch. We have a vast amount of experience in-house and have close links with a few of the industry’s best climbing cameramen.

Dates for Winter

We’re taking a few weeks off over the winter break, so the last course before Christmas will be next week: 10th – 14th December.

Training starts again in the new year, with the first course running from the 7th – 11th January. After that we’ll be back to running courses every week.

We can accommodate all levels on any course, so to book a place give us a bell on 0114 2737398.

FAQ: Helmets for rope access

One issue that crops up regularly on our courses is helmets – techs are confused over which is the correct EN standard for helmets, how they differ from standard site helmets, and whether mountaineering helmets can be used at work. While the short answer is simple – just use a Petzl Vertex or Alveo ‘Best’, it can be a tricky one to explain to enthusiastic safety officers on site, so we thought we’d add some info for folks to refer back to.

Which is the correct EN standard for work at height helmets?

Unlike most of our equipment nowadays, currently there is no standard for specialist helmets for rope access.

Why can’t I just use a standard site helmet?

The standard for normal site helmets is EN 397 ‘Industrial Safety Helmets’. Unfortunately for our purposes this standard has a few problems. Firstly, EN 397 actually requires that any chinstrap must release at a fairly low load – the opposite of what we want to happen in a fall. Secondly, the impact tests required by EN 397 are pretty tame, with the test loads dropping from the height of one metre, and the helmets are only tested on the centre of their shell (this is the reason many cheap site helmets have a moulded central ridge. Get hit on the side and you’re likely knackered!). The standard also requires the shell is continuous to provide electrical insulation and (optionally) protection against molten metal splash – so no ventilation holes. Beware especially Petzl ‘ST’ helmets which look like typical rope access lids, but conform fully to EN 397’s weak chinstrap requirements, making them unsuitable for work at height.

What about climbing hemets?

The EN standard for mountaineering helmets – En 12492 – actually answers a lot of our problems. It requires a chinstrap that will keep the helmet on our head during a fall (but will release before strangling you), and impact tests from greater heights (2m), and on more places on the shell, including on the sides. However most mountaineering helmets have ventilation holes which means they cannot provide electrical insulation. Thankfully Petzl produce a couple of helmets – the ‘Best’ versions of which combine the most useful elements of each standard, making it an ideal helmet for rope access although no longer fully compliant to either standard.
Many mountaineering helmets nowadays are also more like a cycling helmet – more foam than shell – making them less durable and more suitable for protecting your head in a fall rather than against falling objects. Most of the time that shouldn’t be the priority at work, but its up to you to do a risk assessment and determine which is going to be most suitable for the task in hand.

I’ve got an old Petzl Ecrin Best that’s really comfortable. Can I still use it?

The old Ecrin Best was much loved by many, especially when Petzl replaced it with the wobbly and not very comfortable Vertex. Petzl’s lifespan advice for helmets is a maximum of ten years – and if its been used daily, out in the sun, it should probably be retired well before. Used solely indoors you might justify stretching a couple more years, but realistically most of the helmets are now on their last legs. Thankfully Petzl’s latest helmet – the Alveo – is a big improvement on the Vertex, being lighter, lower profile and much more stable on the head. Well worth a look.

Basic manouevres video

We’re steadily adding to our series of instructional videos on our youtube channel. Here’s a set of basic Level 1 manoeuvres:

As with all rope access techniques, there are a range of ways of accomplishing the same task. We tend to teach methods that keep things simple, so that if you’re struggling to remember the sequence you can fall back on the basic principles and find your way through safely. If you’ve been taught differently that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong!

IRATA dates for Autumn

Full dates for Autumn are now listed on the Courses page. Its pretty simple: we’re running courses every week from now until the Christmas break.

Get in touch as early as possible to book as courses have been filling up fast recently. We cater for all IRATA levels every week.

Now supplying Petzl equipment and more

Following some careful negotiations with the UK distributor, we are now able to supply Petzl rope access equipment at highly competitive rates.
We are carrying a basic range of kit in stock for drop-in sales including harnesses, descenders, back-ups, work seats and more. We’ve also got a decent stock of DMM’s Patron 11mm rope selling at under £1/metre. Lead time on bigger orders is rarely more than a couple of days, so anytime you need more gear we can provide it fast.
Give us a bell or drop us an email for more info, or pop in if you’re passing; the coffee machine is always on!

ATL now running courses every week – lots more dates for summer 2012

Due to consistent demand, we’re now running courses every week, bar the odd public holiday (Easter, Christmas etc). Courses have been filling up fast recently so try not to leave it to the last minute to book!

Dates for Summer 2012 below:

18th – 22nd June
25th – 29th June
2nd – 6th July
9th – 13th July
16th – 20th July
23rd – 27th July
30th July – 3rd August
6th – 10th August
13th – 17th August
20th – 24th August
– August Bank Holiday –
3rd – 7th September
10th – 14th September
17th – 21st September
24th – 28th Spetember

Please get in touch for any dates beyond these.

Extra course date for May

Due to demand, we’re running an extra course from the 21st – 25th May. Places are also still available for the week before: 14th – 18th, and the week after: 28th – 1st.

Just give us a ring or send us an email to secure your place.

Dates for Spring and Summer 2012

Now Easter is out of the way, here’s a quick update on upcoming course dates:

April: 23rd – 27th, 30th – 4th May

May: 14th – 18th, 28th – 1st June

June: 11th – 15th, 25th – 29th

July: 9th – 13th, 23rd – 27th, 30th July – 3rd August

August: 6th – 10th, 20th – 24th

As bookings are taken, we are likely to add extra course dates between those listed – please get in touch if the week you want isn’t listed.