Membership Requirements en

IRATA has conducted a thorough review of its membership audit process, and in light of this, they have made significant improvements to the process. The use of the ‘Membership Audit Checklist [FM-039ENG]’ will be phased out for audit purposes from the 30th June 2021 (23:59 UK time) and will be replaced by a revised standard, known as the ‘IRATA Membership Requirements’. From the 1st July 2021, all IRATA members will be audited against the new standard at their next scheduled audit.

The IRATA Membership Requirements document is designed to be more user friendly and easier to understand. A number of guidance documents are provided alongside this to assist existing member companies and membership applicants.

The documents are summarised as below:

IRATA Membership Requirements [QP-300ENG]

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With effect 1st July 2021, essentially this is the standard (or rules) that a new applicant will be audited against. However, existing member companies will be audited against the new standards at their next scheduled audit in order to be an IRATA Operator or Trainer member company.

The standards required for an IRATA Training Venue(s) are also stated in this document.

In line with international standards, readers will notice that the IRATA Membership Requirements use the word “shall”, this means that the clause is an absolute requirement for compliance. The term “should” is used much less frequently, as this means that the auditee must endeavour to comply with this requirement where possible. For example, if there are extenuating circumstances that mean compliance is not possible (e.g. offshore site audit), the auditee may be granted exemption.

It is worth noting that the new IRATA Membership Requirements differ from the previous audit checklist in the following ways:

  • Rather than a checklist, the document follows a format and structure more aligned with other established International standards and industry practices.
  • The structure of the document facilitates the implementation of a Rope Access Management System and aligns to the work flow of a typical operational rope access project.
  • The new structure will facilitate the implementation of an integrated management system, for example, if the company also complies with ISO9001, the document control requirements are very similar.

IRATA Membership Requirements – Guidance [GU-301ENG]

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This document is designed to provide user friendly guidance and some further information on the IRATA Membership Requirements. The information is set out ‘clause by clause’, for example, the guidance for clause 2.3 of the standard will relate to clause 2.3 of the guidance document.

This guidance document is intended to provide additional information but it is not intended to define or instruct users on methodology, processes, practices or documentation preparation.

Compliance with the guidance provided is not a requirement and therefore, the word ‘should’ is used as opposed to ‘shall’. Auditees may choose to comply with the standards in a way other than suggested in the guidance. Ultimately, compliance must be achieved and there may be more than one way to do this. It should be noted that Auditees will not be audited to the guidance document.

Differences Between Form 039 and Membership Requirements [GU-310ENG]

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This document describes the differences between the previous audit checklist [FM-039ENG] (also known as Form 39) and the IRATA Membership Requirements.

The vast majority of standards are the same or similar to the requirements in the previous audit checklist. This means that there is no need for wholesale re-design of your existing Rope Access Management System.

There are 26 new standards in the IRATA Membership Requirements. Many of the 26 new standards are based on requirements that IRATA members were already required to comply with through the IRATA governance documents.

One of the easiest ways to identify any gaps in current Rope Access Management Systems, and to bridge the differences to the IRATA Membership Requirements, is to ensure that compliance with the standards listed in this document is achieved.

Cross Reference Matrix to IRATA Governance Documents [GU-311ENG]

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The previous audit checklist listed references to the ICOP, TACS and the IRATA Bye-Laws. These are known as ‘normative references’ i.e. they provide the grounds upon which the standards are based. Although, the references are still important, they were omitted from text of the IRATA Membership Requirements in order to make the document easier to navigate.

You can find the associated references to ICOP, TACS and the IRATA Bye-Laws in this document.

IRATA Membership Requirement Audit Checklist [FM-312ENG]

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Although the IRATA Membership Requirements take on a different format to the previous audit checklist [FM-039] it is still useful for an auditee to have a checklist to use for their internal audits and for preparation for a Stage 1 IRATA audit. This document is a basic audit checklist against which auditees can gauge compliance to the IRATA Membership Requirements.

It is recommended that the checklist is adapted to suit the internal audit requirements of the auditee. This can be achieved by expanding in the areas where there are known or suspected weaknesses. For example, where previous non-conformances have been issued at audit.

Frequently Asked Questions

IRATA understands that this is the first significant review of their audit standards in recent times and have created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) area which can be found here. Therefore, after reviewing the guidance document, please refer to the FAQ area prior to contacting IRATA. If auditees require further clarification about the new standards, please write to us at stating ‘Membership Requirements’ in the subject line.

Please note that IRATA is not able to provide instructional advice or provide auditees with specific information regarding how a company achieves compliance. Nor can IRATA provide confirmation of compliance regarding documentation, procedures or methods outside of an IRATA audit.