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Im sure this one has run before...

How relevant is IRATA? Is it required for many stage/rigger employers?

If so, who? I have found it very useful on sites where people are happy to let me climb because I have it, but do many companies actually require it?


On another training note - what about PLASA NRC? Same questions apply....


cheers pj

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How relevant is IRATA?


IRATA the roped access 'qualification' (as opposed to IRATA the trade association) I presume: almost entirely irrelevant and becoming more so.


Is it required for many stage/rigger employers?

No serious ones.

Some employers on the fringes of the industry (local authorities running small municipal venues, for example) have turned to Irata tickets for reassurance because they don't understand, and are fearful of, work at height. Invariably they've asked for individuals to hold level 1 tickets - pretty meaningless in any case. (Since Irata themselves don't consider a level 1 tech to be qualified to work unsupervised, or even to rig his own ropes.)


Thats not to say there isn't a role for Irata member companies to play, if they choose to do so. Historically those that have tried to establish a toe-hold in our industry haven't really been very successful, but who knows what the future will hold.


On another training note - what about PLASA NRC? Same questions apply....


It's in its infancy. (Indeed, its only partially up and running - only the level 2 and 3 'direct access' route so far.)

No serious employers are requiring it - they'd be foolish to do so, it's still quite a small minority of working riggers who have it. Quite a few have been encouraging their employees and subcontractors to get involved, and of course most of the major UK rigging companies have had some involvement in the creation of the NRC.

Perhaps in years to come it will become a de facto requirement the way Irata is in the offshore oil industry, personally I hope not, but I wouldn't be at all surprised.


By the by, NRC isn't to do with training as such*. Its just about assessment - setting out what you need to do to gain the qualification and then assessing whether you've 'achieved' that or not. Plasa don't offer any training of their own, and as far as I know don't intend to in the future.

* - apart from the 'entry' level 1, not running yet, which I believe will include a kind of introductory course.

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  • 2 weeks later...

IRATA has done a very good job with their marketing as the best way to undertake rope access or specialist working at height. However if you are to follow the guidelines to the letter the you need a Level 3 on site, which for many is a huge investment (minimum of 2 years) or a huge cost of hiring in someone who is qualified.


You could consider using BS 7985:02, Code of Practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes




This standard is higher up the legal hierachy and is better suited to self contained work at height. You only need to prove competency as either an Operative or as a Supervisor of work at height.


The W@H Regs require you to be competent to work at height they dont specify how that competency should be acheived.


You could even undertake the training in house, however should something go wrong you would need to demonstrate that you are training to BS 8454:06 Code of practice for the delivery of training and education for work at height and rescue.


So rather than run the risk of having to prove the competency of your trainer, should there be an incident, you are better off, as Seano suggests, looking for a 3rd party to undertake that training for you.

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Not sure this IRATA stuff is entirely relevant in our sector, as has been discussed before.

'Qualified' to 'truss climb' (?) No-one competent should 'qualify' you to climb on the vast majority of trusses without very specific conditions being applied.

I would disagree that you need to prove you were training (or being trained) to BS 8454, the ACWAHT syllabus or any other.

Agreed it may help a defence, but it is not a defence in itself (check the inside cover of any BS or EN).

I am not criticising the standard itself; I was involved with it and in writing the ACWAHT syllabus and would support them as good, if not best practice.


Training of virtually any kind is the responsibility of the employer or the self employed person, in terms of both content and frequency.

There is no law that says you have to take any particular course in most sectors of industry, ours included; the law simply requires competence in proportion to risk and responsibility.

Competence in lifting operations and work at height are clearly areas where this does affect our sector and where proof of competence in our specific field was lacking. No longer.

The NRC was designed by entertainment riggers for entertainment riggers and has been developed by PLASA to meet the criteria set by Government in the same way as other qualifications such as BTECs, HNDs and so on. (Hence the 'National' bit in the title).

The NRC is a certificate of competence and includes assessment of the use of PPE relevant to work at height in the entertainment industry.

There are an increasing number of riggers achieving both Level 2 and 3, employers and venues are supporting the scheme as they learn of its purpose and value. It will also provide a career path for people interested in getting into the trade as school leavers or people re-training.


I would encourage anyone undertaking rigging to register.

If you know what you are doing you'll achieve the award and so demonstrate to employers, venues and insurance companies that you meet national standards of occupational competence. Simple as that.

If you are worried you may not achieve it, should you be rigging anyway?

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