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Stationary Rope Technique (SRT) Work Positioning report

Author:  Arboricultural Association
Last Updated:  03/08/2020
Stationary Rope Technique (SRT) Work Positioning report

A new research report entitled Stationary Rope Technique (SRT) Work Positioning – A United Kingdom (UK) Perspective is now available to download here.

The Association’s Research Grant offers an annual fund for applicants who wish to pursue research that will benefit our industry; the granting of funds is overseen by the Education and Training Committee. Over the years, grants have been made for a wide range of projects, undertaken by individuals from many facets of our sector. With the worldwide innovation and advancement of technical climbing skills in arboriculture, this project aimed to clarify and determine essential factors in defining good practice for SRT Work Positioning (SRWP), both practically and to ensure compliance with relevant standards and legislation.

The authors of the report, Robert Knott and Ben Rose, have over 40 years’ practical arboriculture experience to share, and here Robert (Noddy) gives a brief introduction to the need for the project and the exhaustive work they have undertaken.

Wind the clock back four years and the face of single rope work positioning in the UK was entirely different.

A relatively small group of arborists had been employing a variety of tools and techniques since the turn of the decade and big questions were being asked and no answers were forthcoming. Are we insured should an accident occur? Are these tools approved for use in the UK? I’m self-employed, can I use stationary rope technique (SRT) when working for other contractors? The list was endless and those employing SRT daily were beginning to feel isolated as the industry moved more in line with the perspective that ‘Fit for Purpose’ was no longer acceptable under LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) and the ‘no CE, no use’ mantra began to be reinforced. Europe stood by and watched as the rest of the international arborist community developed new tools that were difficult to fit into European Norm (EN) test criteria, and so anyone working with these tools was running rogue as legislation could not keep pace.

A group of climbers began discussing how we, in the UK, were losing touch and feeling pressured to justify using SRT methods; manufacturers were unable to fit any new developments into the strict testing protocols and no research was being carried out in any aspect of SRT.

Ben Rose and I approached the Association with a research idea, and after some negotiations we were awarded funding in the form of the AA’s Research Grant. Plans were drawn up and the ball started rolling; questionnaires were written, answers collated and so began the journey.

Four years on from those exciting days, the completion of the project finds a couple of battle-weary researchers still excited to have finally created a document that should bring relief to SRT climbers. As well as offering a helping hand of direction to those considering the practical element of tree work, it may also offer guidance to legislators, employers and innovators of tools.

Throughout the project immense support was given by the Arboricultural Association, and particular thanks go to Simon Richmond for his infinite patience and encouragement to reach its conclusion.

There are many individuals who took part in the various activities that helped guide us through each step of collating real-life answers to daily conundrums. For this we offer our gratitude and can only hope that we have done some justice to a fascinating subject and the future of practical arboriculture and provided support to climbers’ daily toil.

Download the Report

This extract was taken from Issue 190 Autumn 2020 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.