IRATA Safety Notice- keeping our industry safe
1. The incident
A rope access technician carrying out work at height positioned himself and his
equipment to a new location while still at height. When the equipment was set up at
his new work site, he leaned back to check that the equipment was aligned correctly.
By leaning back the path of his ropes changed and his ropes came into contact with
unidentified cyclic pipework which had increased in temperature from ambient
temperature (about 25 degrees) to greater than 250 degrees.
The supervising Level 3, watching the operator, saw that the outer sheath of the
working line had become damaged and the inner core seriously compromised whilst
in contact with the cyclic pipework. The level 3 immediately called the technician and
advised him to return to his original position and to secure himself to the structure.
The level 3 rigged and lowered a replacement set of ropes to the technician and the
technician descended safely to the ground, unharmed. All work was ceased
2. Incident analysis
2.1 Rope access team was working in an area with unidentified cyclic pipework.
2.2 Rope access team was unfamiliar with cyclic pipe work and its location/function.
2.3 Area Authority issuing the permit to work did not identify the potential hazard of cyclic
pipework to the performing authority and the rope access team prior to the task
2.4 Onsite, vigilant supervision by the level 3 allowed for the technician to be advised of
the incident thus preventing further damage to the technician’s ropes and possible
injury to the technician.
3. Control measures
detail with the Area Operators and team prior to issuing the permit to work.
temperature and as such all risk assessments and controls made to that effect.
(See ICOP reference 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124 & Annex P)
ropes from hidden dangers.
4. See also Safety Bulletin 20 ‘Near Miss’ Rope melted by heat from a lamp relating to
situations where failure of both anchor lines caused by a heat source is possible.