BS ISO 22846 – An international standard covering the fundamentals of rope access

competence based training for work at height

Synopsis

heightec has been involved closely in the development of both parts of ISO 22846, Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope access systems. There are many factors essential to the safety of a rope access system and a failure or shortcoming in any of them can render the entire system deficient. The Standards offer a comprehensive and international benchmark to measure the compliance and effectiveness of rope access systems. For further details please contact us.

Background

ISO 22846 has its roots in the late 1990s, when a work item in ISO/TC94/SC4 enabled a working group (WG6) to commence a project to produce a Standard containing advice and guidance for rope access systems.

ISO 22846 was planned as a single document and much of the first draft was based upon BS 7965: 2002 , which in turn had been based upon the IRATA Guidelines (2002). A later draft of ISO 22846 formed the basis of the current IRATA International code of practice (2010), which superseded their Guidelines.

Two Parts

BS ISO 22846 comprises two parts under the general title, Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope access systems:
o Part 1: Fundamental principles for a system of work
o Part 2: Code of practice

ISO 22846-1 was published in 2003 (being adopted as a British Standard in July 2012 ) and gives the fundamental principles for the use of rope access methods for work at height. It is applicable to the use of rope-access methods on buildings, other structures (e.g. on or offshore) or natural features (e.g. cliff faces), during which ropes are suspended from or connected to a structure or natural feature; and is applicable to situations where ropes are used as the primary means of access, egress or support and as the primary means of protection against a fall.

ISO 22846-2 was published much later, in 2012 (with immediate publication as a British Standard ). It expands on the fundamental principles outlined in ISO 22846-1 and gives recommendations for:
o planning and management;
o operative competence and responsibilities of personnel;
o supervision;
o the selection, use and care of equipment; and
o advice on how to implement a ‘safe system of work’.

There may be other issues to consider also, depending upon the nature and location of the work, the competence and experience of the operatives (as well as local or regional legal requirements).

The heightec Group Ltd
7th July 2012

For further details contact us

David Thomas
Technical Director
The heightec Group Ltd.
7th June 2012


  1. Technical Committee ISO/TC 94, Personal safety – Protective clothing and equipment, Subcommittee SC4, Personal equipment for protection against falls
  2. BS ISO 22846, Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope access systems
    Technical Committee ISO/TC 94, Personal safety – Protective clothing and equipment, Subcommittee SC4, Personal equipment for protection against falls
  3. BS 7985:2002, Code of Practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes, Published: February 2002 (replaced by BS 7985: 2009)
  4. Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (now IRATA International), www.irata.org
  5. Guidelines on the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes, IRATA
  6. Resolution passed at the ISO/TC94/SC4 Meeting, Sydney, May 2001
  7. ISO 22846-1:2003 Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope access systems – Part 1: Fundamental principles for a system of work, http://www.iso.org (March 2009)
  8. ISO 22846-1:2003 Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope access systems – Part 1: Fundamental principles for a system of work, http://shop.bsigroup.com (July 2012)
  9. BS ISO 22846-2:2012, Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope access systems – Code of practice, http://shop.bsigroup.com (March 2012)

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