IRATA OR SPRAT

IRATA SPRAT

For Rope Access experts out there, the IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) or SPRAT (Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians) question can go into some complexity but for the sake of answering the question, “Which certification is right for me?” we’ll try and keep it simple!


 

Yellowhead Bridge Conduit

 

 


First and foremost, the immediate point of difference between IRATA and SPRAT is typically understood as geographic. IRATA certification has traditionally been the only Rope Access ticket honored internationally and it remains the world’s longest standing Rope Access association to date. IRATA is undoubtedly considered the most well-established Rope Access body internationally with over 350 member companies around the world. The IRATA system is also distinctly known for its rigorous technical audit, which ensures the IRATA standard of quality assurance/quality control among its members (operators/training facilities).

IRATA’s membership requirements are strict and the association’s close relationship with the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, and several other health and safety boards globally, has kept IRATA’s foundation centralized on standardized safety compliances and best practice for working at-height.

This ensures that all companies, training facilities, and technicians act according to exact safety practices proscribed by IRATA and each are safeguarded through the IRATA auditing process.

So, if you have identified a specific job or employer that you are interested in, be sure to confirm if they are an IRATA member company or not. For instance, if you are looking for work in the Oil and Gas sector in Western Canada, the trend has been for many employers to be IRATA operating members, meaning they will only hire IRATA Rope Access trained technicians to maintain the IRATA standard of membership and work practice.

SPRAT operates according to a different system of membership altogether.  Although today a SPRAT ticket is increasingly gaining global recognition and membership, SPRAT certification is still principally recognized in North America.

As far as operating and training membership is concerned, SPRAT is not a technically audited association and its membership requirements are much less scrupulous (in fact there is no comparison here).  This has worked to grow SPRAT’S number of member companies abroad and with that broadened the employment opportunities for Rope Access technicians internationally; however, without compulsory audits, Rope Access practice is not guaranteed in any uniform sense across job sites and member companies.

It is often believed among the Rope Access community that SPRAT is the ‘friendlier’ association to deal with. It is easier to become a SPRAT member company, if Direct Entry is an option for you, working through SPRAT ensures a better success rate, and most notably it takes less time to work through the 3 Level system of Rope Access certification.

Just as it takes less time to become a member company in SPRAT vs. IRATA, it also takes less time to work through the certification system- meaning a Rope Access technician requires fewer hours on rope, in less time, to work toward the Level 3 supervisory role.

 


 

IRATA AND SPRAT SYSTEM OF CERTIFICATION

Level 1 IRATA PRE-REQUISITES:

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Government ID or passport details (failure to provide an ID number may cause a delay in processing your certification documents)

 LEVEL 2 IRATA PRE-REQUISITES:                      

  • Minimum of 12 months work experience as a Level 1 Rope Tech
  • Minimum of 1000 logged hours of rope access work
  • Valid logbook signed off by an IRATA Level 3 Supervisor
  • Valid L1 IRATA ID card

  LEVEL 3 IRATA PRE-REQUISITES:

  • Minimum of 12 months as a Level 2 Rope Tech
  • Minimum of 1000 logged hours of rope access work
  • Valid logbook signed off by an IRATA Level 3 Supervisor
  • Current First Aid Certification (OFA 1 or higher)
  • Valid L2 IRATA ID card

LEVEL 1 SPRAT                                                                                          

  • Government ID or passport details (failure to provide an ID number may cause a delay in processing your certification documents)

LEVEL 2 SPRAT PRE-REQUISITES:                                                                       

  • 500 logged hours of experience of rope access work
  • Valid logbook signed off by a supervisor
  • Valid L1 SPRAT ID card


LEVEL 3 SPRAT PRE-REQUISITES:                                                         

  • Minimum of 6 months work experience as a Level 2 Rope Tech
  • Minimum 500 logged hours of rope access work
  • Valid logbook signed off by a supervisor
  • Current First Aid and CPR/AED
  • Valid L2 SPRAT ID Card

It should also be noted that IRATA technicians can only be trained by member training facilities and by an IRATA L3, whereas SPRAT does not have instructor or membership requirements for training.

 

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The other major difference that exists is technical. The course material and techniques you are taught and then tested on during your training assessment/evaluation differs from one certification system to another. Here is the general breakdown (please take note of the bolded points- those are the differences in curriculum and testing):

 

IRATA CURRICULUM AND POINTS OF ASSESSMENT

LEVEL 1 IRATA ASSESSMENT

  • Equipment use and inspection
  • Back-up devices handling
  • Ascent
  • Descent
  • Changeovers
  • Decent using ascenders
  • Ascent using descender
  • Use of work seats
  • Passing knots
  • Rope-to-rope transfer
  • Deviations (redirect)
  • Re-belays
  • Edge obstruction at top (Negotiating an edge)
    Passing mid-rope protection
  • Basic anchor system
  • Pick-off (casualty descending)
  • Climbing with fall arrest lanyards
  • AID CLIMBING USING FIXED ANCHORS
  • AID CLIMBING USING MOBILE ANCHORS

 

LEVEL 2 IRATA ASSESSMENT

  • Load sharing anchors (Y hangs)
  • Pull through anchors
  • HANGING HAUL (EXTRA ROPE)
  • CROSS HAULING
  • Pick-off (Casualty ascending)
  • TENSIONED ROPES
  • WORK RESTRAINT/HORIZONTAL LIFELINES
  • SMALL REBELAY RESCUE
  • ROPE-TO-ROPE TRANSFER RESCUE
  • RESCUE FROM AID TRAVERSE
  • RESCUE THROUGH DEVIATION

 

LEVEL 3 IRATA ASSESSMENT

  • Risk assessments
  • Methods statement
  • Team rescues
  • Tensioned Ropes Rescue through large re-belay
  • Rescue descent passing ropes
  • BREAKING INTO A TIGHT ROPE
  • SHORT LINK RESCUE

 

SPRAT CURRICULUM AND POINTS OF EVALUATION

LEVEL 1 SPRAT EVALUATION:

  • Equipment use and inspection
  • Back-up device handling
  • Ascent
  • Descent
  • Changeovers
  • Descent using ascenders
  • Ascent using descender
  • Use of work seats
  • Passing knots
  • Rope-to-Rope transfer
  • Deviation (redirect)
  • Re-belays
  • Negotiate Edge
  • Install/pass rope protection
  • Simple structural anchor
  • Pick-Off (casualty descending)
  • Climbing with fall arrest lanyards
  • BELAYING W/COMMUNICATION
  • LOWERING

 

LEVEL 2 SPRAT EVALUATION:

  • Load sharing anchors (Y hangs)
  • Pull through anchors
  • RESCUE HAULING: PITCH HEAD
  • CROSS HAULING (TEAM EXERCISE)
  • Pick-off (causality ascending)
  • AID CLIMBING (IRATA 1)
  • FRICTION HITCHES

 

LEVEL 3 SPRAT EVALUATION

  • RESCUE FROM AID (IRATA 2)
  • RESCUE PAST DEVIATION (IRATA 2)
  • Job safety analysis
  • Management and communication
  • Team rescue/Work scenario
  • Tensioned lines
  • Rescue through re-belay
  • Rescue Decent passing knots
  • ANCHORS PRE-RIGGED TO LOWER
  • MECHANICAL ANCHOR SYSTEM

 

Because of these technical differences, SPRAT is often considered the ‘friendlier’ association as far as hiring goes as well:  IRATA companies will only hire IRATA trained technicians because they are trained within the IRATA system of techniques and conduct, however, SPRAT will hire both IRATA and SPRAT technicians because they do not require total exclusivity. So, this something to consider when choosing your certification route.

Keeping all of this in mind, when you chose IRATA certification, you open yourself up to diverse (and arguably more) global job opportunity, hiring compliance with all IRATA operators, and you represent a longstanding history of superlative safety practice. You are also required to have more hours on rope by the time you are an L3, so some may argue that IRATA technicians typically have more hours and therefore more experience on rope. An investment in IRATA is truly an investment in becoming a member of the comprehensive IRATA system, with the added benefit of being qualified to work for a SPRAT member company as well.  SPRAT offers you a similar certification process, but with fewer hours required of you to work through to the 3 Level certification system and with hiring exclusivity within the SPRAT system only. Job opportunity for SPRAT graduates is growing globally but you will not qualify to work for IRATA operating companies.

From the perspective of Pacific Ropes, taking the dual certification option opens you up to the greatest amount of career opportunity and Rope Access expertise. It gives you geographic freedom, employment flexibility, and technical competency in both systems.  

 

If this is not an option for you, just be sure to do some leg work and research what career path you wish to take in Rope Access and which certification system is required of you. At the end of the day, both are excellent choices and carry great integrity and safety records within their associations.

Should you have further questions regarding making this choice, please be in touch with us and we will be more than happy to help you make the right choice!

 

 

From our team at Pacific Ropes,

Stay safe and we’ll see you on the ropes!

 

Please visit our website for upcoming training dates here!   

 

 

 

 

Summary
Service Type
IRATA or SPRAT
Provider Name
Pacific Ropes
Area
Vancouver, BC
Description
Are you curious about the difference between IRATA or SPRAT and which training route is right for you? Pacific Ropes answers your question here!
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