What is Rope Access? 

IRATA International’s Rope Access system is a safe method of working at height where ropes and associated equipment are used to gain access to and from the workplace and be suspended at the worksite for the duration of the work.

The advantage of using Rope Access methods lies in the safety and efficiency with which workers can get to or from difficult locations to carry out their work, often with minimal impact on plant operations. The success of IRATA’s method of rope access is based on thorough training and strict work guidelines that deliver an unrivalled safety record year after year.


Why choose IRATA? 

The Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA International) includes within its membership, operating companies, training companies and technicians. Technicians are those who have learned their skills from the training companies of the Association. The teaching of the IRATA syllabus enables Rope Access technicians to progress through three levels of proficiency, with certification issued at each level. The IRATA technician carries a card that is recognised globally for its importance and value. The thorough, IRATA training program delivers a skilled workforce that can reliably deliver work-at-height methodologies.

IRATA Instructors are specialists and experts in their field who have theoretical and practical teaching skills. Their individual abilities and the training facilities where they work are regularly and independently assessed to ensure that training is being delivered to the highest global standards.


How do I progress through the IRATA training scheme? 

IRATA Training Scheme Flowchart




  • No previous experience required.
  • Aptitude for working at heights.
  • Physically and medically fit.
  • Minimum age of 18 years.

Training Scheme

  • 5-Day training course in rope access.
  • Independent IRATA assessment.


  • Basic Technician.
  • Capable of performing a range of activities under the supervision of a Level 3.
  • Responsible for their own personal rope access equipment.




  • Minimum 12 months and 1000 hours of work experience in a variety of tasks as a level 1 rope access technician. (Signed by a L3 supervisor)
  • Physically and medically fit.

Training Scheme

  • 5-day training course in rope access, rigging & rescue.
  • Independent IRATA assessment.


  • Rope Access Technician.
  • Capable of rigging ropes and undertaking rescues, including hauling, under supervision of a level 3 rope access technician.




  • Minimum 12 months and 1000 hours of work experience as a level 2 rope access technician. (Signed by a L3 supervisor)
  • Appropriate first aid certificate.
  • Physically and medically fit.

Training Scheme

  • 5-day training course in advanced rope access techniques, rescue, equipment examination & legislation.
  • Independent IRATA assessment.


  • Rope Access Technician (Supervisor).
  • Capable of site supervision for rope access work projects. Comprehensive knowledge of advanced rescue techniques.
  • Conversant with relevant work techniques & legislation.


How do I become qualified? 

IRATA International has a formal training & certification scheme and grading structure that involves weeklong training courses as well as supervised and logged operational experience. Rope Access technicians are grouped into three technical grades, depending upon their experience and level of assessment as set out in the IRATA International publication Training, Assessment, and Certification Scheme (TACS).

The Training, Assessment, and Certification Scheme (TACS) document has been developed by IRATA to provide training and assessment criteria for personnel who will be engaged in Rope Access work and methods. It is recognised that the safety, application, and effectiveness of Industrial Rope Access methods depend upon both the capabilities of the personnel who perform them and those responsible for these people. The independent assessments are designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the operations performed, and to provide the sector with an assured minimum standard of proficiency. Full details of the syllabus for each level are detailed in the Training, Assessment, and Certification Scheme but in summary the following is required:


Level 1 Rope Access technician:

A level 1 Rope Access technician shall be capable of performing a limited range of Rope Access tasks required by his or her employers, under the supervision of an IRATA level 3 Rope Access technician. He/she is:

  • responsible for inspections of all his/her own personal Rope Access equipment
  • able to assist in rigging and non-standard operations, under the guidance of a higher grade
  • able to undertake a rescue involving descent by him/herself and have a knowledge of hauling systems
  • NOTE: A level 1 Rope Access technician is not allowed to supervise others.


Level 2 Rope Access technician:

A level 2 Rope Access technician shall be capable of rigging working ropes, undertaking rescues and performing Rope Access tasks (under the supervision of an IRATA level 3 Rope Access technician). He/she should have some knowledge of legislation, safety requirements and quality assurance procedures relating to Rope Access.

  •  NOTE: A level 2 Rope Access technician is not allowed to supervise others.


Level 3 Rope Access technician

A level 3 Rope Access technician shall:

  • be capable of site supervision for Rope Access work projects
  • be conversant with relevant work techniques and legislation
  • be able to demonstrate all the skills and knowledge required of levels 1 and 2
  • have a comprehensive knowledge of advanced rescue techniques
  • hold an appropriate current first aid certificate, to show that suitable emergency first aid training has been undertaken
  • have knowledge of the IRATA certification scheme
  • have knowledge of the IRATA Training, Assessment and Certification Scheme
  • be familiar with the contents of the IRATA ICOP



What if I don’t get work on ropes, what is refresher training? 

Your ticket remains valid until the date of expiry. However, if Rope Access technicians do not use Rope Access methods for a period of more than six months, they are required to undergo refresher training prior to commencing Rope Access work. The training should be appropriate for each individual and should be recorded in his or her logbook.

Refresher training:

  • Shall be carried out by an IRATA International Level 3 Rope Access technician
  • Shall not be carried out during operational duties
  • May involve the need to undergo a full training course

Our certified rope access instructors can provide refresher training at our purpose-built training facility. Refresher training typically takes a whole day depending on competence levels.

For more information, please contact us via email: [email protected]


How do I revalidate/keep current? 

IRATA International certificates shall be renewed within three years of the date of assessment.

If revalidation training and a successful assessment are completed in the six-month period prior to the expiry of a current certificate, a new certificate shall be issued with an expiry date three years from the date of expiry of the previous certificate.

All revalidating candidates are required to complete a minimum of four days of training prior to assessment.


What’s the difference between refresher and revalidation training? 

Refresher training is intended to revise and update knowledge and skills.

Revalidation training is a course delivering the entire syllabus at a given level, leading to assessment and, if successful, renewal of certification.


What are logbooks for? How do I use one? 

The purpose of the logbook is to record the rope access technician’s experience and training. This includes the total hours engaged in rope access, the type & variety of work undertaken, and when the work took place. Rope access technicians wishing to upgrade to Level 2 or 3 cannot be considered for assessment without a correctly maintained and up to date logbook.

How to complete the work experience section of a logbook

Under the heading Date:
Work shall be recorded in the logbook in time periods of no more than two weeks. Where rope access technicians work on more than one site in a day, the tasks should be entered separately, unless very similar.


Under the heading Employing Company:
The name of the employing company shall be recorded.


Under the heading Details of Task Being Undertaken:
Both the nature of the work and the access methods employed shall be described, e.g.

  • Window cleaning: descent on ropes; basic rigging
  • Installing fall-arrest nets: aid-climbing; retrievable rigging
  • Inspection of steelwork: ascent and descent on ropes; aid climbing; tensioned lines

Under the heading Location:

Rope access technicians shall briefly describe the type of structure worked on e.g.

  • Concrete tower block
  • Steel-framed warehouse
  • Flare stack; oil platform


Under the heading Hours worked:
An accurate reflection of the time spent directly engaged in Rope Access activities shall be recorded. In addition to time spent on the main task noted under Details of Task Being Undertaken, this may include time spent rigging and de-rigging ropes, inspecting rope access equipment, and toolbox talks. It shall not include other time spent on site such as meal-breaks, waiting for permits, or down-time due to weather. For this reason, logged hours are typically less than those paid or entered on timesheets.

Under the heading Max Height Worked:

An accurate reflection of the maximum height spent working at height while carrying out rope access tasks shall be recorded.

Under the heading Supervisor’s Signature:

All logbook entries shall be countersigned by the supervising Level 3 rope access technician, who shall log their name (printed clearly), signature and unique IRATA International number.

Under the heading Total Hours for This Page:
The total hours logged on that page shall be added up and recorded.

Under the heading Running Total of Hours Worked:

Hours carried over from the previous page are added to total hours for this page and then recorded.


What happens if I lose my Logbook? 

If any rope access technician loses their logbook, they should replace it immediately and, where possible, obtain references for the hours they have lost. Where lost hours are required to move up a level, e.g. Level 1 to Level 2, the candidate shall obtain credible references to verify the hours they have lost. Maintaining a scanned copy can guard against such problems.

Candidates who have lost their logbook shall not be able to start a training course without one. This concerns any existing IRATA rope access technician who is looking to revalidate their certification or upgrade to a higher level. If a candidate has a course booked and a logbook has been lost, then they should contact MCL Height Safety immediately to discuss options and order a replacement logbook with IRATA.

To order a replacement, technicians must contact IRATA direct at: [email protected]

To book on our IRATA courses at any of our purpose built training facilities in East London, South London and Humberside email [email protected] call 0208 5585688 or visit our website and when booking via the website the option of using PayPal Pay in 3 can be utilised to spread the cost of your training.