What is the difference between IRATA and SPRAT certification?

The Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) are both organizations that seek to promote safety and develop standards for rope access.

Both IRATA and SPRAT were formed to address the needs of companies that were already engaged in rope access work, before relevant regulations and standards existed. IRATA led the way and SPRAT modeled their organization on what IRATA had already created successfully for the UK and Europe.

However, there are some key differences at the level of membership and certification that are worth noting:

  • IRATA membership is exclusive to rope access companies that undergo an application and audit procedure. This means that IRATA operations and training are offered only by member companies whose program is regularly audited and reviewed to assure quality. SPRAT does not assure the quality of their member companies.
  • IRATA requires 4 days minimum training prior to assessment, as part of the certification process. Within the SPRAT scheme, training prior to certification is recommended, not required.
  • The upgrade requirements for IRATA are currently double what SPRAT requires. Since the experience hours logged must meet certain requirements, the road to an IRATA upgrade is significantly longer. This is bad news for someone looking to fast track the process. However, the higher requirement means that IRATA technicians gain more experience before becoming responsible for the overall safety of a rope access site, which is a comfort to all concerned.