Industrial rope access is the expression used for those techniques whereby access is gained to buildings, other structures (onshore and offshore) or geological features (such as cliff faces), by means of ropes anchored to the structure or features concerned. It is generally applied to situations where the rope supports one man (or one piece of equipment) at a time, and where ropes are used as:
- The primary means of support
- A means of primary protection and positioning; and
- A means for personnel to descend, ascend, or traverse horizontally.
Its primary purpose is not that of a fall arrest system, but rather one that can be used in work-positioning operations using equipment to approved standards.