“Who, or what exactly, is an IRATA Member?”

This is one of the most common questions asked of us. The simple answer? Businesses / Companies are able to become IRATA Member Companies. An IRATA trained technician is not an IRATA Member.

IRATA Members are regularly audited, to ensure that they are operating and / or training to the strict standards set out by the Association.

The Association, since the beginning, has documented the process of training technicians to provide operational solutions to the work-at-height and confined space sector. Ultimately, IRATA’s objective was the development of a safe system of work, allowing personnel to gain access to and from the work position, and be supported there – and along with the development of such systems, came the development of a robust training scheme that has been revised over the years as ancillary equipment, personal protective equipment and rope access methodology has evolved.

IRATA has three types of memberships:

  • Operator
    • Companies engaged in operations utilising industrial rope access techniques (other than training)
  • Trainer
    • Companies engaging in training personnel in all techniques of industrial rope access
  • Associate
    • Equipment manufacturers and suppliers of other services.

The Association directs and manages through its members the training of all workers seeking its qualifications. These member companies provide training or operational services, or both.

IRATA’s membership requirements are strict, and the associations continued involvement with the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, as well as several other health and safety boards globally has kept IRATA’s foundation centralised on standardised compliances and best practice for working at height. This ensures that all companies, training facilities, and technicians act according to exact safety practices proscribed by IRATA and each are safeguarded through the IRATA auditing process.

So, how do you become an IRATA Member?

For many companies, the IRATA membership application and audit process is a daunting one.


  • You must be an incorporated entity (a registered company).
  • You will need to have documented rope access operating and / or training procedures.
  • You must employ a current or expired IRATA qualified level 3 technician, who will be nominated as your Technical Authority.

After submitting your application to become a Member, there four audits;

Desktop Auditreview of documentation

Prior to a face-to-face audit, companies are required to submit procedural documentation

Probationary Auditcompliant / non-compliant

Face-to-face audit of all premises and site visits

Probationary membership is granted at this stage as long as there are no major non-conformities

Full Audit12 to 18 months after Probationary Audit

Face-to-face audit to ensure conformity of all processes demonstrated during probationary audit

Re-Audit conducted every 3 years after Full Audit


5th Point provides a consultancy service for rope access companies seeking guidance in applying for IRATA Membership.

This can include the development and compliance of existing or new Policy and Procedural Documentation, including Operational Procedures, Rescue Plans, Inspection Procedures and Inspection Logs.

For more information, please contact us: office@5thpoint.co.nz 

History of IRATA International

IRATA was formed in the UK in the late 1980’s, to solve maintenance problems in the offshore oil and gas industry. Its formation was the result of an initiative of a number of leading companies who had begun to use industrial rope access techniques, to provide a safe working environment for the industry.

The rope access technique developed by IRATA has now come to be used in a wide range of repair, maintenance, inspection and access work. Since it proves an unrivalled safety record, a quick set-up and dismantling time, positive environmental benefits and no need for invasive access equipment or disruption of the site, the IRATA system of rope access continues to enjoy increasing popularity throughout the world.

IRATA is now recognised as the worlds leading authority on industrial rope access. It has over 400 member companies around the world and has trained in excess of 120,000 rope access technicians worldwide.

As a Trade Association, it is built up of the following committees:

  • Executive Committee
  • Training Committee
  • Health & Safety Committee
  • Equipment & Standards Committee
  • Audit Committee
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