Is Rope Access Training Worth Your Investment?




For any business, it can be a challenge to prioritize costs per month. We input the “necessities” and quantify what “extras”, if any, we can afford at that given time. As a small business owner, I often feel like the parent at work, telling my employees whether they can buy that “toy” this week or whether they will have to wait until the following month. I want them to have all of the tools they need to succeed in their job, yet in reality, a monthly budget does not always allow for extra expenditures.

Employee training is often times considered one of those “toys” depending on the type of business you are operating. Most of the time, however, it is categorized under “employee development” and considered a unique benefit that is not necessarily essential to an operating budget.

So, how do you fiscally categorize something like Rope Access training within your business? Taking into consideration that WorksafeBC has recently legislated new safety regulations for work at height, it will be considered a necessary investment. But even then there lurks the tendency to try and “get around” the regulation because there was never a portion of your budget allocated towards Rope Access training for the 2015 fiscal year. In addition, it can be considered an inconvenience to pay for training AND your employees’ wages for a week’s time, when you could instead have them in the field maintaining operations.

Putting provincial regulation aside, however, how can you determine whether Rope Access training is worth the investment for your company? Regulation or not, can you see a return on this investment in a way that is financially beneficial to your business operations?

Below are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine if Rope Access training is for you and your employees:


1)      Am I saying no to bigger work scopes that involve more complex access?

Rope access systems gives your teams the ability to rig complex worksites efficiently and safely, without major obstruction to the surrounding environment. If you ever find yourself saying, “we can’t complete that project because we don’t know how to get there,” “renting access equipment for that will be too expensive for us and the client” or, “setting up any platforms or structures is impossible in this sensitive location,” then investing into rope access can help you start saying YES!


2)      How are my competitors dealing with their work at height operations?
Rope access is growing. Each year, more and more industries and companies are taking it on as one of their alternatives for access and providing more value to their clients. You wouldn’t want to fall behind or tell a potential client you can’t do what the guy next door can do.


3)      Do my crews have the potential to work more efficiently?
Rope access systems gives the technician the ability to move up, down, and across a work area. If someone had to go back to re-do a task, they can easily get back and forth without wasting time by having to lower to the ground. Or, if your client decides last minute to add to your work scope, it would be easy for your team to get back on the ropes instead of waiting for access all over again. Save time, save money.


4)      Do I deal with a lot of loss time due to lack of safety on the job site?
Many contracts are working against a deadline. The last thing you need is for everything to halt because of a safety issue. Properly trained rope access technicians, who follow the management systems, work in a safer environment. In 2012, the reportable accident rate of only 117 per 100,000 workers remains well below international statistics, being typically in the range 10-25% of reported rates for UK, EU-27 and USA.


5)      Am I spending a lot of money on my current access method?
Using rope access instead of other traditional forms of access saves on time! And, when you save time, you save money! For many work scopes, rope access cuts down on access mobilization and demobilization, while maintaining a higher safety system. Overall, your worker hours are cut down, which means lower payroll costs!

Below is a chart outlining the costs associated with Rope Access training. This is based on you training a 3 person crew and investing in Rope Access equipment, assuming you lack that equipment currently.  Wages include the amount paid out while your crew is in training for the week. In year 2, and Year 3, you are upgrading at least one employee to either L2 or L3 SPRAT.

Rope access chart

Yes, the investment is huge for year 1 but depending on how you have answered the 5 questions above, the ultimate return on this investment can be tremendously great. It is just a matter of breaking down your own numbers, evaluating where your company is at, where it could be, who/what your sales and marketing targets are, and whether this will help you step ahead of your competitors.