Staff Certification Updates, and My First Time as Trainer

On the left: Patrick Capruso is making his ascent. At right, Kristen Olson is practicing a pick-off rescue of of Michael Patino.

Vertical Access recently conducted an in-house industrial rope access training course in preparation for third-party certification or recertification by the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT). As a Level III Rope Access Supervisor with over 17 years experience in the construction industry and a Vertical Access employee since 2011, I took on the role of trainer for the first time.

I am excited to congratulate the following VA staff on SPRAT advancements and recertifications achieved in April, 2018:

  • Patrick Capruso – Certified to Level II
  • Kristen Olson – Recertified at Level II
  • Evan Kopelson – Recertified at Level II
  • Kelly Streeter – Recertified at Level III

Certified rope access technicians and supervisors must undergo training and recertification every three years. As part of the training, technicians review basic rope access techniques that we most often use during site work as well as more advanced skills that are less often used, such as passing knots, rope-to-rope transfers, redirects, rebelays and horizontal aid traverse. The training also covers rope rescue techniques and mechanical advantage systems used for hauling or lowering a rescue subject or other load.

Following the training course, Vertical Access brought in an independent SPRAT Evaluator to conduct the evaluation. The evaluation and certification process includes written and oral examinations to test knowledge of safe practices for industrial rope access and an understanding of the equipment and principles involved in rope access work. The main part of the evaluation is the skills test, in which each candidate must demonstrate a broad range of rope access skills.

The rest of our technical staff and their certifications are:

  • Michael Patino – Certified to Level I (February, 2018)
  • Berta de Miguel – Recertified at Level I (May, 2017)
  • Mike Russell – Certified to Level II (August, 2017)
  • Kevin Dalton (me) – Recertified to Level III (December, 2016)

What is SPRAT?

SPRAT is a membership organization that promotes the development of safe practices and standards for rope access work in the United States, Canada, Mexico and beyond. Vertical Access is a member of SPRAT and has been active in its leadership committees throughout the years.

  • Level I Technicians are rope access workers with the appropriate training, skills and qualifications to perform work under the direct supervision of a Level II Lead Technician or Level III Supervisor.
  • Level II Lead Technicians are responsible for physically conducting rope access operations and/or safety evaluations of rope access operations, including maintenance of associated access equipment, and are capable of performing all Rope Access Lead Technician duties as assigned in the employer’s rope access work program.  To become a SPRAT Level II certified technician, Mike and Patrick were required to complete the evaluation as described above, in addition to logging 500 performing rope access work as a SPRAT Level I certified professional.
  • Level III Rope Access Supervisors are responsible for overall rope access operations on site and job site safety. Level III candidates should have current First-aid, CPR, and AED certification prior to evaluation and will have logged at least 1000 hours performing rope access work with at least 500 hours and six months as a SPRAT Level II certified professional.