Get With The Times

We have been to many sites over the past few weeks and have met with so many different Clients. With the amount of people we meet on a daily basis, we get stuck into many conversations, most of them have one thing in common: Rope Access vs traditional methods (Cradles, scaffold etc). Sometimes we have to get into a debate, which we win hands down but it definitely takes a while especially if people have never experienced Rope Access.

Having been overseas, we noticed that majority of people had “got with the times” when it came to this. Rope Access is widely used and preferred over cradles and scaffold. The advantages are huge! Not only are you saving a lot of money, but you are saving time and it is much more aesthetically pleasing than having unsightly cradles or a massive amount of poles surrounding your building.

It is a well established fact that Rope Access is not only faster but overall is actually safer. Of course, we know that scaffolding is better suited in certain situations and will always have its place in the construction industry but we must be able to compare different access methods when we are able to instead of sticking to the same old thing.

Rope Access is not as dangerous as you would think. We don’t just use any old rope, it is specialised rope that can hold at least 15 kN. Secondly our Technicians are not attached to just one rope, they are attached to two ropes. There is never just one Technician on a building, always two so that the one can assist the other should the need arise. All tools are attached to the Technician, making it much safer so we cant hurt any person below. There are many different ways in which we make sure that our Technicians are safe.

There is virtually no equipment when our guys are working on the ropes and our Technicians work in teams, so that the entire environment is focused on nothing but safety. This includes not just safety for the individuals on the ropes but the people in the general surroundings as well.

Intrinsic Safety of the system

Anchor points = 12 kN (1200 kg)
Ropes = 30 kN (3000 kg)
Multi anchor point = 30 kN (3000 kg)
Harness = 15 kN (1500 kg)

As time goes by, things evolve and change to better suit our environment and the way we do things. We as humans are constantly looking for ways to make our lives easier and more cost effective. The previous generation knew how to work hard but the new generation are great at working smart. There has to be shift at some point. The shift is happening now.

Setting a new standard in the Construction/Rope Access Industry

Definition of – Setting the standard“to perform an activity at a level that other people have to try to achieve. To do something well or better than someone else”

There are thousands of standards that we as construction companies need to adhere to every day. Standards set out by local authorities, standards set out by local governing bodies, standards set out by Clients but in this day and age its important to start thinking outside of the box and setting your own standards. In our company, this is exactly what we do.

I was told today that Kenneth & Crooks are setting new standards. This, in my opinion is a huge compliment. To be setting new standards, is a great feat. Our company is involved in many different avenues, avenues which we continue to excel in. One of these is our ability to handle specialised access issues. Rope Access is a niche market, one that has many standards that need to be followed. While it is vital for us to stick to industry standards, we also make sure that we are excelling way above these. Safety, workmanship, service, these are a few standards that make us unrivaled in our industry. Buildings are conduits by which Kenneth & Crooks can improve the value of a clients’ business and the services they provide.

We strive to add value to our Clients in every job that we undertake. It is about adding and enhancing customer requirements and need. Its about going the extra mile to make a difference in their lives. What is the point in only adhering to the standards set out, we go above and beyond these standards and therefore we are able to set a new standard in our industry.

Kenneth & Crooks has had the opportunity of opening a branch overseas and in doing so we have gained extensive experience in the standards that the companies in a ”first world country” adhere to. We have been able to bring a little (actually a lot) of this standard into South Africa. Project by project, we are able to set a new standard of work and service, one that is so far, unmatched.

Rope Access Supervisors

On every site, you will have a qualified Level 3 Rope Access Technician. This is to ensure that the proper procedures are always being followed with regards to safety, quality, service and protocol. This is an absolute must for a company that adheres to IRATA regulations and is put in place to ensure that the highest level of safety is consistently maintained. Site supervisors are qualified in complex rescues and first aid, ensuring that our crew is in the best hands at all times.

The Level 3 is ultimately responsible for the whole team of Rope Techs on his site. You can be assured that a Level 3 on your site, will have at least 2000 logged on the ropes with at least 2 years’ experience (the minimum required to have advanced to this level) but most of our Level 3’s have much more experience and hours logged than that. Not only does a level 3 have to have the necessary hours and experience, they also have to be great team leaders and planners. The Level 3 oversees the whole project as well as the team of Rope Technicians and signs off on their logbooks based on what work they have done on the project. The job of a Level 3 is very similar to that of a normal Construction supervisor but with the added skill and responsibility of dealing with workers at height on ropes.

One of our Directors is a Level 3 Rope Access Technician, he has over 6000 logged ‘rope’ hours and experience in almost anything you can think of. He is the one making sure that any other Level 3 hired works up to IRATA’s standard. In this way, KC Specialised Access takes a hands on approach, understanding exactly what is required and implementing strategies and protocol based not only on IRATA but firsthand experience and training.

Rope Access Paperwork

Rope Access is definitely not just ropes and equipment, there is a lot of paperwork. We have systems in place for every project, documents and files that have to be kept up to date at all times and relevant to each job. Here are some different documents that we prepare for each job:

We have a detailed safety file relevant to every site that we work on. In our safety file, you will find documents such as employee certificates, medicals, toolbox talks which are done on a daily basis, rescue plans, RAMS documents, SWMS (Safe Working Method Statement), Public Liability Insurance, Workmen’s compensation documents and the list goes on.

Risk Assessment and Method Statement: Before a job can begin, our team of Rope Access Technicians will assess the site and project in detail and make note of any possible hazards or risks. These get evaluated and documented on the Risk Assessment. A Method Statement details how a particular task will be carried out so as to avoid the risks assessed in the Risk Assessment, showing how the work will be managed safely. Both of these documents are made available in the site safety file.

Rescue Plans: These documents are created by our Level 3 Supervisor. No site is the same, so no rescue plan will be the same which makes them site specific. The rescue plan will describe the method of rescue and evacuation procedures.

Tool Box Talks: Each and every day, the Site Supervisor on site will evaluate any new hazards and any new topics relevant to the site will be discussed with the crew before the work commences for the day. These toolbox talks are documented and signed off by everyone on the crew and made available in the safety file.

That’s a little bit of an insight into some of the paperwork that runs behind the scenes at KC Specialised Access. All of this is to ensure our team’s absolute safety on a work site.

Rope Access Equipment

At KC Specialised Access, we take our equipment very seriously. All Rope Access equipment is logged individually and all of the information on each piece of equipment gets recorded, such as manufacturing date, its specific identification number, breaking strength etc. All Rope Access Equipment gets a full inspection by a competent person every 6 months but it also gets inspected every day on each job by the individual user. Any piece of equipment that fails the inspection gets repaired, recycled or disposed. Every piece of equipment has its own special use according to its specifications as set out by the manufacturer. It can’t and won’t be used for anything else, or outside of its specifications. It is important that we meet the safety standards at all times.

Petzl is a manufacturer of climbing, caving gear, work at height equipment based in Crolles, France. The company was created by the cave explorer Fernand Petzl in the mid 1970’s. They have a passion for inventing new solutions and equipment for Rope Access companies like us to keep advancing in our techniques and as their motto says ‘access the inaccessible’.