The broad utility of rope access systems

Developments in training, techniques and equipment mean that modern rope access systems are used in situations where it is difficult, impractical or impossible to access the work site by any other means.


The methods are commonly employed on:

High-rise buildings


Road side cliffs & cuttings


Masts & towers

Radar dishes

Building atria


The kind of tasks performed by rope access technicians include:

Inspection & testing

Maintenance & repair

Cleaning & painting

Window cleaning

Geotechnical (rock-fall prevention, pressure pointing)


The benefits of a rope access system of work include:

Work generally requires a small number of personnel for a short time, reducing the number of man-risk hours

Because installation and dismantling of the system is rapid, there is minimum disruption to building occupants, pedestrians and traffic flow.

The cost is lower than most other work methods, for example scaffolding.


The AS 4488 training course

Twin rope access (or industrial rope access) training is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to perform work in a vertical or high angle environment. In general the training covers installation of anchor systems, abseiling skills, rope ascending and descending methods, performance of work tasks and rescue procedures. We will also look at state & territory OH&S legislation and regulations for safe work at height, Work Cover obligations, industry bodies (Australian Rope Access Association & Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) and current equipment types for different applications.

The course is structured to be as realistic as possible, so the students are ready to use their skills on the worksite immediately after completion of training and assessment. The course is nationally endorsed as it is built up contextualized training package units and the statement of attainment is issued by an RTO.


Is this an IRATA or ARAA course?

IRATA (the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) is a UK based rope access association that offers training & qualifications here in Australia. The IRA 1 course is not an IRATA program. So why is it valid? IRATA is a 'peak' industry body and as such offers valid training, however the IRATA scheme does not currently have endorsement from the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA). Any endorsed program offered by SAR via it's affiliation with PACI (an RTO or Registered Training Organization) is nationally endorsed and carries the same weight in every State and Territory of Australia. Work Cover NSW does not currently endorse any specific course or training program in rope access. For more info on this refer to 'Guidelines for Building Facade Access Systems' (Sept 2000) available at The ARAA also offer a range of level based courses that are highly appropriate for those entering into specific areas of work. Contact our office for details on the distinctions between the different training schemes, as the IRA1 course is not the most appropriate program for many clients.


The IRA1 course identifies the following units:

Conduct a risk assessment for working at height (based on AS / NZS 4360: 2004 Risk Management)

Select use, and maintain equipment for working at height

Install an anchor system

Approach the work position using abseiling techniques

Demonstrate vertical mobility at height

Use a ladder to gain access to the work position

Work at height using a work positioning system

Respond to emergencies at height



Site / job specific training (such as bush regeneration work): generally 3 days

Multi-site training (for industrial applications): generally 6 days



$950.00 per person (site-specific training)

$1850.00 per person (multi-site training)


Group booking discounts may be available. Minimum number of 6 students per course. The course fee covers training resources, course notes, all equipment, assessment, provision of certificates – log books – ID cards, public liability insurance.



Must be at least 17 years of age

Speak, read and understand the English language (unless accompanied by a skilled translator)

Fit and healthy for working at height



On-the-job or at a site that provides realistic workplace conditions.



Personal (or workplace) equipment may be brought along, however SAR will supply the latest in rope access gear and PPE (personal protective equipment).



Statement of Attainment in Industrial Rope Access Techniques (to AS 4488).


IRA1 Rope Access operator


IRA2 Advanced Access & RESCUE


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