Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rope & Harness "Certification" is probably the most misused term in the Property Claims industry.

Rope & Harness Trainings were first offered to staff adjusters around 20 years ago by individual Ins. Carriers and to Independent Adjusters around 2004 by a company named K-Squared Catastrophe Svs. that later became Catastrophe Career Specialties LLC who today are known under the company name of Reality Rope Access LLC. Around 2008, Rope & Harness “Training” also started to be offered to Independents by Eberl, Pilot, CATI, AI Tech, Pacesetters, Adjuster Academy of Texas and Vale following the Ins. Carrier request that claims overflow vendors deliver a percentage of their workforce with formalized R&H training. All programs mentioned are beneficial (i.e. certainly better than no R&H training at all) yet make no mistake, some programs are without question much better than others.

In order for any training process to be officially recognized as a "Certification" it must be based on a declared set of standards or features. Such declarations are mandatory for delivering critical information to potential employers pertaining to the capabilities of those they “Certify”.

No intelligent person would buy an automobile based only on the information that it is simply an automobile. Most would want the details of horsepower, fuel consumption, towing capacity, public road compliance and safety features…. But then again most consumers of this product know that such details are important while those shopping for the most return on a R&H class simply do not.

Today, ANYONE can offer “Rope & Harness Certification Training” HOWEVER, as of Aug 23rd 2016, only one has went through the trouble of removing the mystery of what that actually means.

 Asking Eberl, Pilot, CATI, AI Tech, Pacesetters, Adjuster Academy of Texas and Vale "What Standards are Your Rope & Harness Certification Based on?" will only produce a short sales narrative that includes the words “Good” “Safe” and maybe even “Worthwhile” however, most people do not have the background education to comprehend what exactly these programs actually are:

1)   Based loosely on a “Sport Climbing” Model and have no affiliation to the professional worldwide Fall Protection OR Rope Access community

2)   Undeclared or No declared set of standards for training, equipment, ethics, completeness or comprehension of critical skills

3)   100% attendance to pass ratio that enhance the likeliness of injury for those with health or height phobia related issues that make them a poor candidate limiting employer liability

4)   Most instructors have not completed any formalized training in Fall Protection, Rope Access or EVEN Sport Climbing

5)   AND MOST IMPORTANTLY……No compliance with OSHA or ANSI which is rapidly becoming extremely important in more and more states like Washington that requires full state OSHA (not just Federal OSHA) fall protection compliance for all employees EVEN Claims Adjusters that are otherwise exempt under Federal OSHA laws (Ask Mark Harter, Vice Presedent of Operations at Worley Co. about the cost of non-compliance on just a handful of adjusters on a single cat assignment)

In conclusion, I would say to read and consider all the feedback you can about R&H training for pitched roofing systems, even those that would have you believe  it is “simply a matter of common sense”, “can be learned with a visit to any REI / Sport Climbing retail store” should be purchased “based on the size vendor” or “cost of the class”……just remember that the Insurance Carriers know a thing or two about risk and their position on the subject is that any slope that is two story or greater than a 7/12 pitch is not safe for the average adjuster to inspect……….SO………..what would make you think that what is not safe for everyone else would somehow be safe for you???

For more information on Rope Access Standards for pitched roof access please take the time to educate yourself at Not just the best information on this subject, it is the ONLY attempt at establishing ethical standards for “First Man Up” pitched roof specific fall protection standards.