Facilities can reduce inspection accessibility costs by incorporating rope access into their inspection plan. Rope access is an inspection method that leverages ropes and other equipment to help inspectors reach areas that are normally difficult to access. While rope access is used primarily for inspection tasks, it can also be used for other mechanical services that need to be performed on areas that are challenging to access.

On average, facilities waste thousands of dollars on traditional inspection methods such as scaffolding, crane baskets, and man lifts. These methods are expensive and often compromise the safety of inspection personnel. Additionally, these methods require more time and resources to complete. While some activities may require these traditional methods, in many cases, rope access can easily be substituted.

Many types of facilities can benefit from leveraging rope access. For example, facilities that have corrosion monitoring locations (CMLs) located in areas that are difficult to access and facilities that are spending a significant amount of money on scaffolding can greatly benefit from rope access. Rope access is an efficient method that helps facilities optimize their inspection costs and increases the safety of their inspectors.

Some managers who haven’t employed rope access before may have the preconception that rope access is more dangerous than scaffolding and may believe that the technique only involves a rope. Rope access has an exemplary safety record and is statistically safer than scaffolding. Rope access technicians undergo rigorous training through the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA). In addition to the rigorous training the technicians must complete, rope access teams require at least two technicians including a level 3 technician, the highest level of qualification, to complete a task.

In addition to the vast number of safety benefits, rope access has a variety of financial benefits for facilities. First, rope access eliminates the need for scaffolding, which is an expensive cost for a facility. Additionally, rope access also reduces the number of man hours required to complete the job. It may take a rope access crew a few hours to complete an inspection task that it would take a scaffolding team weeks to complete because of the time needed to construct and remove scaffolding. The reduced time spent completing the task on an asset allows the facility to minimize the downtime of that asset, which can result in long-term cost savings for the facility.

Rope access can be used for a variety of traditional and advanced inspection techniques including:

One of PinnacleART’s customers experienced a 76% savings on their inspection costs by employing rope access at their facility. The use of rope access decreased the number of hours needed to complete the task, the number of permits, and overall cost of the task. It took the rope access crew 465 hours to complete the NDE task instead of the 2,232 hours that would have been needed to complete the traditional scaffolding work. Additionally, the facility only needed to take out 26 permits instead of the 52 that would have been needed for scaffolding. Overall, the cost of completing rope access was $56,000 compared to the $240,000 that would have been spent on completing the total traditional scaffolding.

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