Annex I of NR35 – Rope Access

(MTE Ordinance No. 39093 of December 28, 2023)

1. Objective

1.1 To establish the requirements and preventive measures for working at height utilizing the rope access technique.

2. Scope

2.1 For the purposes of this Regulatory Standard, rope access is considered to be the technique of using ropes with other equipment for ascent, descent or horizontal movement and positioning in the place of work, normally incorporating two independently fixed safety systems, one as a means of access and the other as a safety rope used with a full body harness.

2.2 In situations involving work on inclined planes, the application of this Annex shall be determined by a risk analysis.

2.3 The provisions of this Annex do not apply to the following situations:

a) recreational, sports and adventure tourism activities;

b) arboriculture;

c) emergency services for the rescue of persons who are not part of the rope access team itself; and

d) caving activities.

3. Conduct of activities

3.1 Rope access activities shall be carried out:

a) in accordance with procedures that comply with applicable national technical standards;

b) by workers certified in accordance with applicable national technical standards for the certification of persons; and

c) by a team of at least two workers, one of whom shall be the supervisor.

3.1.1 Certified workers may be exempted from the initial and refresher training required by items 35.4.2 and 35.4.3 of NR-35.

3.2 The worker shall be connected to at least two ropes at independent anchor points while carrying out the activity.

3.2.1 It may be permitted to carry out the activity with the worker connected to only one rope if the following requirements are cumulatively met:

a) the risk analysis demonstrates that the use of a second rope results in a higher risk; and

b) additional measures are implemented as provided for in the risk analysis to ensure a level of safety at least equivalent to that provided by the use of two ropes.

4.  Equipment and ropes

4.1 Ropes used shall meet the requirements of national technical standards or be certified in accordance with international technical standards.

4.1.1 In the absence of international technical standards, certification to foreign standards may be accepted provided that the requirements of the European Standard (EN) are met.

4.2 The auxiliary equipment used shall be certified in accordance with national technical standards or, in the absence of such standards, in accordance with international technical standards.

4.2.1 In the absence of international technical standards, certification to foreign standards may be accepted provided that the requirements of the European Standard (EN) are met.

4.3 Equipment and ropes shall be inspected in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and the criteria established in the risk analysis or operating procedures.

4.3.1 Equipment and ropes shall be inspected in the following situations:

a) before use; and

b) periodically, at least every six months. Depending on the type of use or exposure to aggressive agents, the interval between inspections shall be reduced.

4.3.2 Any equipment or rope that is defective, worn, deteriorated or deformed shall be rejected, rendered unusable and disposed of.

4.3.3 Inspections shall be recorded:

a) upon receipt;

b) periodically; and

c) when equipment or ropes are rejected.

4.4 The risk analysis shall take into account external influences that could compromise the integrity of the equipment and ropes.

4.4.1 In the case of exposure to chemical agents that could compromise the integrity of the ropes or equipment, additional measures shall be taken in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, taking into account the incompatibility tables of the products identified with the ropes and equipment.

4.4.2 Additional measures shall be taken when working near energized or potentially energized systems.

4.5 Equipment used for rope access shall be stored and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer or supplier.

5. Rescue

5.1 The work team shall be trained in self-rescue and team rescue.

5.2 A rescue plan shall be in place for each work front.

6. Adverse conditions

6.1 In addition to the adverse conditions identified in the risk assessment, as referred to in item “j” of NR-35, rope access work shall be stopped immediately in the event of winds exceeding 40 kilometres per hour.

6.2 Rope access work may be permitted in conditions where winds exceed 40 km/h but are less than 46 km/h provided that:

a) the impossibility of postponing the services has been justified by a document signed by the person responsible for carrying out the services;

b) a complementary risk analysis, including an assessment of the risks, their causes, consequences and control measures, carried out by a multidisciplinary team coordinated by a qualified occupational safety professional, has been prepared, attached to the justification, with the applicable additional prevention measures, signed by all participants;

c) additional safety measures to enable the activities to be carried out have been implemented; and

d) the activity has been carried out under the supervision of the activity supervisor.