Looking at some of the recent postings on the General Comments portion of this site, it is right that I should echo the call for more accuracy/realism in log books and address the issue of low-standard assessments.
We are conscious of the false claims being made in log books about the numbers of hours worked and are concerned not only by the basic dishonesty of this but the ramifications it has for the safety of this industry and its workers. This Association does not have, nor will it ever have, a legion of detectives around the globe checking on log books day in and day out and thus we have to rely on those who see evidence of such cheating to tell us so that remedial action can be taken. If operating companies are turning blind eyes or individuals falsifying their own documents to get work that should rightfully go to honest techs who really have put in the hours and have the expertise/experience, we want to know but are seldom in a position to gain this information first-hand. Any information will be treated in strict confidence but facts are required rather than unsubstantiated claims.
With regard to Assessors who fail to do a through job or are in any other way abusing their position in the business then, again, we need sound documentary evidence rather than hearsay but the Association has put in process a re-evaluation of its training and assessing processes and the preparation of this new programme was put out to tender during the last month. We are hopeful the chosen programme will be up and running within the near future and intend that part of it will involve a more rigorous and continuous evaluation of assessors, trainers and training venues.
The lengthy postings on the matter of the IRATA Executive and its other committes seemed to produce a concensus that they were not the secret enclaves some were suggesting. It is indeed true that the people concerned do give a great deal of their own time and money when they take these positions with this or any other Association and such increase in profile that they might gain from these roles is completely offset by the amount of free time they give on behalf of the membership. Having said that we are always looking for new volunteers who, as delegates from member companies, can attend meetings, influence policy and, in due course, put themselves forward for the elected positions. IRATA, like other trade associations, represents companies rather than individuals but it is the men within these operations that run the Association. Other trade association do not tend to have individual employees in their industry as members but, as has been pointed out, individual membership is available to Level 3 supervisors and affords the opportunity to attend and contribute to meetings of the Association and receive its full information services.
It bears saying that IRATA, unlike many other trade associations in the construction, access and allied industries, is not made up of manufacturing companies who can often remain very distant from the work situation. Its members are the companies who train and employ those working in rope access and, as such, you have an operation is that much closer to the workforce than would be the case if members only manufactured your ropes or your boots.
On matters of insurance, IRATA has consistently sought to find beneficial rates in the market-place but has had only limited success, principally because the rope access industry is of insufficient size to gain significant preferential treatment. We will continue to pursue this matter but cannot promise any developments in the short term.