Pacific Ropes Blog

Understanding the IRATA L1 Syllabus: Edge Obstructions

Working edges, or access zones, present all sorts of hazards. That’s why we set up exclusion zones around them (an established work area that is barred from access – to prevent untrained people from potentially fatal fall hazards). As a rope tech, you’ll be geared up and regularly working around and over that working edge. Here’s what you should know...

The edges of roofs, platforms, cliffs, cavities (etc.), might have edge protection (guardrails or parapet walls), but they also might not. Each scenario presents its own access challenges, but if your anchor point is on the other side of that edge, creating a 90-degree angle to the line of descent, there are a few hazards that come into play.

Specifically contact hazards like rope stretch and abrasion, and the edge obstructions that have either been installed to protect against those contact hazards, or are permanent safety features on the structure.

During your IRATA Assessment, all levels will be asked to demonstrate competence passing a top edge obstruction while in descent and ascent mode.

We recently posted a blog, where we listed the 6 most common reasons L1 techs fail their IRATA assessment, and #4 on our list was forgetting to switch to descent mode while climbing over an edge. This is considered a major discrepancy if the slack is not properly managed through the chest ascender, so it’s a step you’re going to want to remember.

Your IRATA assessor will also be watching to make sure that you:

  • Attach your equipment correctly before approaching the edge.
  • Are using the appropriate safe controls.
  • Avoid impact loads and cross loads on equipment.

During your training week, we’ll go into further detail on how to safely execute this rope maneuver, as well as going into further detail on appropriate rope protections.

Additional resources to check out:

TACS 6.6.10 for the source material for this blog.

TACS 6.4.7 for rigging requirements.

This is part of an ongoing series, where we’re breaking down IRATA’s syllabus and clarifying exactly what ‘demonstrating competence’ and ‘demonstrating awareness’ means, and what will be expected of you on assessment day. To learn more about the rest of the IRATA L1 Syllabus, click below:

Succeed your IRATA L1

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