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      Understanding the IRATA L1 Syllabus: Passing mid rope Protectors

      To protect the working lines against abrasion and other hazards, wrap around canvas rope protectors can be used if the risk (generally a minimally sharp or abrasive edge) falls in the mid part of the rope.

      *Important Note: canvas rope protectors are NOT sufficient protection against razor sharp edges at any steep angle. They should only be used when minimal prolonged contact will take place between the rope and the sharp edge, otherwise you should be using a steel edge roller or steel slings.

      This protector is there to protect an undamaged rope against external hazards. If the rope has minor damage, a suitable knot can be tied as a temporary safety measure. Damaged ropes should always be retired and replaced asap. See the related post about passing mid-rope knots  that’s part of this series.

      Mid-rope protectors are simple enough to pass. The maneuver involves removing, passing, and then reinstating the protection back into its intended/ appropriate position on the rope(s). Your working and safety line will have their own separate mid-rope protections, and sometimes part of the protection may be attached to the structure itself, in a rig to rescue situation when the ropes will need to move freely through the protectors in a lowering or hauling situation to ensure they stay in the most effective position.

      During your IRATA Assessment, all levels will be asked to demonstrate competence passing a mid-rope protection while in descent and ascent mode.

      Your assessor will be watching to make that you:

      • follow the remove, pass, and reinstate sequence detailed above.
      • the the rope remains fully protected at all times during the exercise.

      They’ll also be watching for the safe and appropriate use of rope protections and their correct installation.

      Assessments can feel a little bit artificial, and that’s because they take place in a controlled environment where hazards have already been assessed and mitigated. When you’re actually working on the job, you may not be getting graded but there’s a lot more at stake. For this part of the assessment, IRATA has specified that this exercise be completed in a realistic setting, where the rope appears to actually be in hazardous contact with a structure, making this protection necessary. With a more obvious visual cue, it will be easier to act accordingly.

      We’ll go through all the steps in further detail during your training week.

      Additional resources to check out:

      TACS 6.6.14 for the source material for this blog.

      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