What does the Phoenix Bomb Squad, DPS Aerial Rescue, Phoenix Fire Department, and MasTec Network Solutions all have in common? They’ve all had climbers who are SPRAT certified. The Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) is a member-driven organization that advances the safe use of rope access through education, standards development, and certification administration.
“It’s an elite group,” Tower Safety & Instruction Owner Kathy Gill told Inside Towers, “and it’s an important skill that builds confidence by understanding a two-rope system,” Gill said. “It’s a means of access by descending or ascending a main line while the worker is protected by a safety line. The tools and techniques differ greatly from traditional ‘controlled descent’ used throughout the industry,” she said.
Gill’s company will be offering SPRAT level 1 and 2 classes July 13 -17, at her campus in Phoenix. Rigging and climbing are a normal day for a tower hand, according to Gill, but having them gain rope access skills is another tool in their toolbox. “Rope access skills give these men and women the ability to complete work in difficult places to complete a job, it’s a means to get to the work location safely,” she said.
SPRAT certification has 3 levels: 1, 2, and 3, and requires 1,000 documented hours of rope access experience before you can move forward to the next level. Benefits of being on rope include problem solving for anchorages, rescue, and rigging; creating skills that build confidence by understanding a rope system. “Climbers are usually fit and driven,” Gill said, “not scared of heights, and psyched to be on ropes.”
This four-day training course is followed by a physical and written test provided by a third-party examiner and students are taught the importance for SPRAT Level 1 and 2 techniques. Gill said SPRAT certification enables the wireless worker to think of creative ways for rigging, mechanical advantages and rescue and be more efficient riggers by understanding how ropes, knots, and anchorages can work for our industry.