Photo by Muelhan Surface Protection
IRATA began its life by providing teams to inspect, maintain, repair and renovate the offshore platform. This was in answer to the companies operating these rigs who had found other means of access to be of limited use in the offshore environment, with their structures and machinery taking up too much of the limited space available; and at times prejudicing the whole safety regime of the rig, including emergency evacuation.
It was not long before the international oil and gas companies came to insist on IRATA systems being employed whenever rope access was used on their platforms and, today, such requirements are almost universal for this industry.
Discovering that workers on ropes were able to reach areas of the platform that it was impossible or, at best, very costly to get to by other access means, owners of these installations turned to IRATA members for ever more detailed and specialist work. Some of these tasks have involved ground-breaking procedures that have either substantially reduced the time required for the work to be completed, extended the life of the rig, or its parts, or enabled rigs to be altered or repaired without returning to shallow water.
Many offshore rope access technicians have specialist work-related qualifications relevant to inspection and maintenance.