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      Understanding the IRATA L1 Syllabus: Climbing with Fall Arrest

      In a fall arrest system, although you may be working on an elevated platform, your feet are still touching a solid surface. Your hands and feet are your primary attachment points, but for your safety you’re also connected to a fall arrest system using either a twin or single legged lanyard with an energy absorber. The energy absorber, or shock pack, protects you by diminishing the peak impact forces you’re able to generate if you lose your footing and slip. Work positioning lanyards can be used in conjunction with fall arrest when it becomes necessary to work hands free or lean outside of your center of gravity.

      IRATA separates climbing techniques in TACS into two categories: aid climbing and climbing with fall arrest equipment. This technique obviously falls into the second category, and includes things like pre-installed systems and personal lanyards.

      You’ll need to understand how to work within both of these systems.

      During your IRATA Assessment, all levels could be asked to demonstrate a vertical climb using pre-installed temporary or permanent fall arrest equipment, and a twin-legged fall arrest lanyard. You’ll also need to demonstrate moving to and from a work positioning lanyard (like a cow’s tail or Grillon).

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

      • Understand how to work in fall arrest, and what the equipment used in this system can and cannot do.
      • Use the fall arrest equipment safely. This involves:
        • Selecting safe anchor points, and connecting to them correctly.
        • Ensuring that appropriate attachments are maintained at all times, and in the lowest possible Fall Factor at any given time.
        • Understanding whether the clearance distance you’re working with is safe.

      Information on safe clearance distances will require a brief calculation based on information found in the technical notes from the manufacturer. Early during your training week, we’ll have a ‘gear talk’ where we’ll go into detail on where to find the standards on each piece of PPE (personal protective equipment), and what they mean for your safe system of work.

      L3 certifying IRATA techs, should also be able to explain why a fall arrest climbing method is the best choice for a given scenario, and when another technique should be used instead.

      We’ll go into further detail on all of the above during your training week.

      Additional resources to check out:

      TACS 6.7.4 for the source material for this blog.

      ICOP Part 3, Annex Q for more information on fall factors, clearance distances, and associated risks.

      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