Following our previous blog post outlining some of the primary equipment involved in rope access work, in this post we take a look at more pieces of apparatus available to the average technician working at height. Note: ‘primary equipment’ refers to those pieces of equipment necessary to perform ascent and descent, and not those used to carry out whichever work is being done like painting tools, spot welders, drills, etc.
It might seem obvious, but connectors are used to connect one thing to another — it’s that simple. More specifically, they are devices used to either attach two bits of kit together or to attach equipment to the harness belt. These come in the form of karabiners and maillons: the former being a temporary connector that locks and opens quite easily, the latter being more permanent connectors that are used less often and therefore locked with a tight screw fixture.
Footloops / Entriers
Footloops and entriers are used to aid a worker in navigating a structure or climbing up a rope. They are usually made of heavy-duty nylon and incorporate adjustable elastic straps to prevent slippage. While footloops have only one loop at the end, entriers have several loops all along the apparatus in the shape of a ladder.
Mobile Fall Arrest Devices
In the event of either a fall or an uncontrolled descent, Mobile Fall Arrest Devices ensure that the worker has a strong and stable backup. These are attached to the reserve safety line of a rope system, are only activated in the event of sudden acceleration (think of seatbelts in the event of a crash). They are designed to safely lock on to the line without causing any damage and compromising its stability.
Slings / Strops
Slings and strops act as portable anchors in situations where there is no fixed anchor point and a temporary one is required. Workers can simply loop the apparatus around a structural rigging point (e.g. a pipe or beam) and attach their karabiners through the rigging ring. Due to their protective sleeves, strops are more resilient to chemical and heat damage than slings.
In the context of rope access, pulleys are used to minimise the friction of any rope that runs through it by providing a smooth wheel for them to glide along. These are essential bits of kit in any hauling system, especially when changing the direction of moving ropes.
Swivels and Rigging Plates
Swivels and rigging plates are used to prevent ropes from twisting and wrapping around each other, respectively. Swivels are rotational attachments designed in such a way that, if a heavy load spins while being hauled, the rope system will simply spin along with it. Rigging plates, on the other hand, are designed to divide and organise ropes so that several different systems can be attached to a single anchor point.
If you would like to shop rope access equipment than visit the Martin Castle shop on our website. Our friendly team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have.