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According to our training and inspection scheme we certify training bodies and inspections bodies (you can check the list of certified bodies by clicking the hyperlinks below).
  1. The certified training bodies run training courses to train instructors and rescuers for ropes courses. All course participants who succesfully passed the course receive a personal training certificate.
  2. On the other hand the certified inspection bodies do inspect ropes courses. The inspection is done according a certain manual and guideline. Both will be checked: if the ropes course is fit fur purpose resp. if it is built according to certain Standards and Norms. These aspects of conformity and safety will be declared in the inspection report and shown on the inspection certificate.
 
So in summary for our certification system:
  1. an instructor, rescuer or trainer can posses a personl training certificate.
  2. a ropes course can be inspected by an certified inspection body and if the inspection was passed an inspection certificate is issued individually for the specific ropes course.
In both cases a certificate (either from the type ''training'' or ''inspection'') with an individual number, an expiration date and the ID of the certified body is issued. So the easiest way to check is as follows: ask the operator to show you the certificate.
 
 
 
A) In our certification system following types of certificates will be issued:
  1. Certification for training bodies and inspection bodies (you can check the list of certified bodies by clicking the hyperlinks below). Certified bodies have to pass an application process, a paper check and an on-site audit. If all is passed they will receive their certificate. 
    1. Training body certification: The certified training bodies run training courses to train instructors and rescuers for ropes courses (see 2).
    2. Inspection body certification: The certified inspection bodies do inspect ropes courses. The inspection is done according a certain manual and guideline. Both will be checked: if the ropes course is fit fur purpose resp. if it is built according to certain Standards and Norms. These aspects of conformity and safety will be declared in the inspection report and shown on the inspection certificate (see 3).
  2. Training certificate: An instructor, rescuer, trainer resp. trainer-trainer (Master-Trainer) can posses a personal training certificate - given the training course from an ERCA certified training body was passed successfully.
  3. Inspection Certificate: A ropes course can be inspected by an ERCA certified inspection body and if the inspection was passed an inspection certificate is issued individually for the specific ropes course.
In all cases a certificate (either from the type ''certified training body'', ''certified inspection body'', ''training certificate'' or ''inspection certificate'') with an individual number, an expiration date and the ID of the certified body is issued. So the easiest way to check is as follows: ask to show you the certificate.
Certified bodies are allowed to use the ERCA logo and the ERCA training label resp. the ERCA inspection label.
 
 
B) In addition to these individual and verifiable certificates we have the standard ERCA membership where members sign a self-commitment. So they voluntarily agree that they work according to the ERCA standards, but have not been individually certified.
 
ERCA members are allowed to use the ERCA logo only.
 
The members list is open to the public: http://www.erca.cc/index.php/en/about-erca/members-list-link 
 

 

Temporary regulations for the validity of training qualifications during the COVID-19 Crisis

During the COVID-19 Crisis with its current challenges, we would not like to put an extra strain on instructors, rescuers, trainers, operators or training bodies. Therefore, we would like to introduce the following temporary extension rules for the scope of training qualifications. This should enable both parties to continue without formal constraints and operators and training bodies to re-start business as soon as they are allowed again.

There are 2 temporary regulations. One temporary regulation for extending the grace period, normally 1 year, for certificates that have already expired. The other is for extending a certificate that has not yet expired but will do so within a certain period.

Both temporary regulations and the periods of grace and extension will be reviewed should the need arise.
 

Temporary extension of the grace period for refreshing already expired qualifications

Due to the fact that in some cases none or not all of the refresher workshops of the ERCA-certified training bodies can take place, we decided to temporarily (!) extend the grace period between the expiry date of the certificate to the time when the refresher workshop is to be attended from 12 to 18 months. This rule apply for cases where the standard grace period ends between 28th FEB 2020 and 31st MAY 2020.

Example 01 Grace Period extension  

EXAMPLE #01

The certificate has already been expired on 6th APR 2019 and the usual grace period would end on 5th APR 2020 (12 months after the certificate expiration).

Now, with the temporary extension the instructor will have 6 months more time and need to have a refresher workshop completed by 5th OCT 2020.


NOTE:
In this case the certificate has expired and this temporary rule will not change this status! The certificate is and will stay expired unless it has been refreshed through attendance in a refresher workshop or by attending an additional ERCA-certified training course!

We are currently working on the technical implementation of this regulation, so that the Intranet will automatically take this regulation into account. However, if a certificate cannot be issued, please contact the ERCA office and we will help you.
 

Temporary extension of the expiry date for certificates that are due to expire within a certain period

To enable operators to re-start the business as soon as they are allowed again, we would like to prevent potentially expired awards (of their staff) hindering them formally. Therefore, we decided that all certificates with an expiry date between 15th MAR 2020 and 31st MAY 2020 will provisionally receive a temporary extension of 3-months.

Example 02 Expiry Date Extension  

EXAMPLE #02

The certificate expires on 15th APR 2020 (3 years after successful completion of the assessment).

The expiry date falls in the allowed specified timeframe between 15th MAR 2020 and 31st MAY 2020.

Now, with the temporary extension this certificate will receive an extension and the new expiry date will be the 15th JUL 2020.


NOTE:
ERCA will issue a PDF-certificate to each individual. Therefore, certificate extension should not be assumed until you have received notification from ERCA.
This exemption certificate will not prolong the grace period calculated from the original certificate. The grace-period extension rule from above will be applied always to the original certificate expiry date.

As mentioned above, the ERCA office will make use of a PDF-bulk-creation tool to create PDF extension-certificates for all individuals affected. This tool will automatically e-mail the PDF-file to all individuals with an e-mail-address stored in the database. Training bodies need to decide whether they wish to receive a copy and to which dedicated e-mail inbox.

Individuals who have no e-mail address can get in touch with the training body to receive their extension (PDF file).

The extension-certificate is an unique exemption certificate which makes reference to the original certificate. Neither the certificate nor the included data will be saved to the intranet records. To make this visible a watermark sign (diagonal orange stripe with the text „Temporary Extension“) will highlight this.

  Preview Layout
Below sketch shows the route to become an ERCA certified ropes course inspector.

You need to have building experience and must hold certain awards (1-6). For 1 (WAH)see footnote 1 either a "ERCA Generic Rescuer Award" or "ERCA High Ropes Course Trainer Award" or a "IRATA Rope Access Technician Level1 (or higher)" award or another similar award is compulsory. For the awards it is up to you to attend qualifying courses at whatever provider you wish or participating in courses offered by ERCA. If you fulfill all prerequisites you can attend the 5-day inspector training (7). At the end of training you will receive feedback and can work out your personal action plan with help of the trainer (8). Afterwards you have to perform inspections as assistant (9) before you are required to pass an assessment (10).

Footnote 1: For the 'Working at Height'-Award we aplly the following rules: a) Candidates need to present an initial certificate (one of those mentioned in the list); this need not to be current; b) During the „inspector training“ the assessors have to observe if they are competent to work safe at height; Those who perform unsafe can be excluded;

For further questions please contact:
Mrs Sonja Prömm
+49-(0)511-95733228


 

[Below description/criteria applies to certifications issued in the year 2018 or later.]

Even if the full responsibilty and liability for carrying out a ropes course inspection keeps with the inspection company, ERCA has developed a label for those inspection companies who are fulfilling a set of certain quality citeria.

Inspection companies will be allowed to display the label „ERCA Certified Inspection Body“ which is shown at the right, if following key stages are met:

  • The inspection company passed one peer review or one audit initially.
    As part of it an inspected ropes course was re-inspected by a 2nd expert, findings were cross-checked with the former inspection report and document samples were checked to make sure that management pocedures are in place like mentioned in the self-commitment from the inspecton company (see below).
     
  • ERCA has checked if the inspector(s) working for the inspection company hold -at least- following formal qualifications and if a document was available to prove this:
  • o   Working-At-Height Award
    We apply following rules for this award: a) Inspectors need to present an initial certificate (one of those like mentioned here); this does not have to be renewed continuously;
    b) During the „inspector training“ the assessors have to observe if inspectors are competent to work safe at height; Those who perform unsafe can be excluded;

    o   PPE Inspection Award (at least training of 2 days duration, incl. assessment)

    o   Wire Rope Inspection Award (at least training of 2 days duration, incl. assessment)

    o   Wood Pole Inspection Award (at least training of 3 days duration, incl. assessment)

    o   ERCA Inspector Award (includes assessment)
     

  • In case of Re-Certification (At least one site visit with re-inspection of a recently inspected ropes course was carried out by a 2nd expert and findings were cross-checked with the former inspection report)
     
  • The leader of the inspection company has confirmed following inspector(s) experience
  • o   … construction experience with pole- and tree-builts with at least  50 days;

    o   … comprehensive experience for carrying out operational inspection procedures;
     

  • By signing the "Inspection Body Contract", the leader of the inspection company has declared to establish and to uphold following management procedures in connection with ropes course inspections carried out:
  • o   Measures to ensure continous professional development

    §  Inspectors must attend two CPD days within a 3 years period. One opportunity is to attend the the yearly meeting of the expert group inspection.

    §  The leader of an inspection body is responsible that their inspectors are competent to work at height; The leader has to apply the usual measures for employers (CPD, instructions, training);

    §  The leader or one delegate of the inspection body needs to attend the ERCA ‘Expert Group Inspection’ at least once over two years.

    §  Each inspector carry out a minimum of 5 inspections per year.

    o   Duty to hold a liability insurance

    §  The inspection company is liable to conclude and hold an appropriate liability insurance to the services the inspection company offers (with an insurance sum of minimum EUR 5000000 per case).

    o   The inspection body has to make use of the documentation database online software (Intranet). Doing so it is ensured …:

    §  ... that ERCA can pick samples for the next upcoming audit process; (Note: ERCA will not review nor check if reports or findings are correct.)

    §  ... that reports are stored in a 2nd place (protection against data deletion);

    o   Procedures in terms of data protection

    §  The inspection company undertake not to grant access to the documentation to anyone other than the persons entrusted with the execution of the inspection and documentation with the process.

    §  Inspection companies have the duty to inform their customers about the fact, that data will be submitted and saved online while making use of above mentioned online documentation database and that email addresses will be subscribed to ERCA‘s emaillist for certificate holders. Certificate holders can unsubscribe at each time.

    §  The inspection company need to file/enter data while making use of above mentioned online documentation database and to prepare certificates. Doing so the customer e-mail address will being added to a mailing list, by means of which ERCA internal information and security relevant reports are sent.

    §  Customers need to be made aware by the inspection company that data can being used from ERCA for the purpose of carrying out audits related to the inspection company.

    o   Procedures for Quality Control

    §  The inspection body allows ERCA to carry out customer surveys on a regular basis (online survey form).

    §  The inspection body agrees that ERCA is allowed to carry out re-inspections whenever ERCA wants and with no in-advance notice to the inspection body. ERCA can pick the ropes courses for re-inspection from the documentation database online software. The procedure will always be the same and is explained in audit paperwork.

    §  The inspection body agrees that ERCA is allowed to carry out a re-audit of the inspection body latest over all 3 years.

    §  The inspection body control and measure the performance of the inspectors.

    o   Procedures for Office Management

    §  Archiving of all paperwork for peridical inspections carried out, for minimum the last 10 years.

    §  Traceability of inspection reports, certificates and the relevant customers.

    §  Upholding a procedure for correction/ recall of reports/certificates for such a potential case in which certificates were issued by mistake or with containing mistakes.

    o   Procedures for the Practical Inspection
    Inspection bodies carry out all mandatory procedures like specified in a checklist.

    §  Start of an inspection (Briefing with the operator)

    ·         Meeting the ropes course operator

    ·         Acquiring the relevant documents from the operator - assuming the inspector has not received them prior to inspection

    ·         Document Checks (Design Calculations, Drawings)

    ·         Checking if there are any specific areas of concern that the inspector needs to pay particular attention to during the inspection process?

    ·         Checking if there are there any elements which carry a particular risk?

    ·         Checking if the inspector should be aware of any particular incidents in the past?

    ·         Ensuring a rescue plan is in place for the duration of the inspection.

    ·         Adhering to national laws and WAH regulations.

    §  Inspection work

    ·         Functional test of ropes course elements/activities if possible (e.g. exept large group elements)         .

    ·         At height inspection of all elements of the construction.

    §  Completing the inspection        

    ·         Final discussion with the client; passing on relevant information.

    ·         If elements need to be placed out of action: Advise the name and location of the element to the operator and asking the operator to counter sign the relevant documentation.

    ·         Informing the operator about the next steps and or Actions.

    o   Procedures for the compilation of a Report & Documentation

    §  A final report has to be completed and submitted to the operator within 30 days after the inspection. If this is not possible e.g. for research reasons the customer has to be informed about the delay in between the 30 day period.

    §  The inspection body adheres to and states unambiguously on the report that the inspection was carried out according to the ERCA – Inspection criteria’s, manual and standards.

    §  Inspection reports must contain clear findings and advice to operators what was ´passed´/ ´failed´/´deferred´ and what repairs are mandatory. Photographs are to be made and must show the identified defects.

    §  More in detail, a report shall contain ...

    ·         … identification of the issuing body.

    ·         … place(s) and date(s) of inspection.

    ·         … identification of the item(s) inspected.

    ·         … name, address and signature of the inspector.

    ·         … a statement of conformity where applicable .

    ·         … a record of all defects found. A note stating that any safety defects which are found shall be resolved to the satisfaction of the inspection body before the course is used.     

    ·         … information on what has been omitted from the original scope of the inspection.

    ·         … a statement that the inspection report should not be reproduced, except in full.        

    ·         … if applicable, a notification about the fact, that arboreal assessments shall be carried out at least once per calendar year and within a maximum interval of 15 months as detailed in EN 15567-1:2015, Annex A.

    [Below description/criteria applies to certifications issued in the year 2018 or later.]

    The certificate shown at the right will only being issued by ERCA once above mentioned points were actually met on the day of the audit.

    The certificate keeps valid as long as that status was not revoked actively nor a re-audit found contradicting reasons. As long as the certificate is valid, you will find the inspection company listed on the ERCA website at: https://www.erca.cc/index.php/en/training-and-inspection/inspection#bodies

    Flagrant breach of inspection procedures or quality criteria defined by ERCA will in-validate the certificate.

    [Below description/criteria applies to certifications issued in the year 2018 or later.]

    Inspection companies who would like to be „ERCA Certified Inspection Bodies“ for the scope of „Periodical Ropes Course Inspections“ must comply with all criteria mentioned above.

    Those who would like also being certified for the scope of „Inaugural Ropes Course Inspections“ and/or "Modification Inspections" need to meet the following additional requirements:

  • The inspection body has following obligations to inform his customer:
  • o   Impartiality declaration stating, that for the current built there is independence given, because the inspector was not involved in any other service (training, construction, engineering services…) in this project and will not being involved in the next periodical inspection.

    o   Declaration from the inspection body that the inspector carrying out an inspection has all skills and competencies to carry out the inspection with all its details. If -for specific application- not all competencies can be covered by the single inspector a team representing all relevant skills can be entitled or external experts can be appointed. Responsibilities and results must be documented clearly and transparent.

    o   Clarification for customer that the requirements from ISO-17020 may not being all met by the inspection company or reference if the inspection body holds the ISO-17020 certification.

  • Additional formal criteria for the inspection company:
  • o   Having 5 years inspection experience – at least.

    o   Carrying out 25 inspections (total) every year for different types of ropes courses (on poles, in trees, with steel, ..).

    o   Holding the status as an ERCA certified inspection body for at least 2 years.

    o   Has passed minimum one re-audit with all its parts and focusing on documentation.

  • Additional skills/infrastructure to be uphold by the inspection company:
  • o   The inspection body with its employees has the competencies to identify critical applications/ load bearing points from statical calculations and drawings. This must be from profound extend within the staff of the inspection body itself. There must be an engineer in the team or a partnership with an external engineer office.

    o   In an accompanied/ observed inspection (on-site audit) - the person(s) who shall do inaugural inspections - needs to demonstrate the competence to carry out the tasks fully and with ease. This includes following:

    §  Pre-Inspection, Formalities & Acquiring all the relevant paper documentaion

    §  Practical skills, technical knowledge and judgement on the construction

    §  Understanding of statical calculations & engineer drawings

    §  Questions on technical details/ issues identified

    §  Post-processing & Documentation

    §  Measures to reduce identified risks

    §  Communication to the client

  • Additional Procedures for Office Management
  • o   Archiving of all paperwork for ´inaugural inspections´ carried out, for minimum the last 21 years.

    [Below description/criteria applies to certifications issued in the year 2018 or later.]

    ERCA has the right to carry out following checks on a random basis:

  • Submitting and collecting answers from customer survey forms.
    and/or
  • Document checks in the office of the inspection body or via remote-access-techniques.
    and/or
  • Interviews with the leader oft he inspection company or the inspectors.
    and/or
  • Site visits with re-inspection of a recently inspected ropes course and cross-check of the findings with the former inspection report.
  • [Below description/criteria applies to certifications issued in the year 2018 or later.]

    For reason that the full responsibilty and liability for carrying out a ropes course inspection keeps with the inspection company, it is always the inspection company who issue the certificate and a comprehensive inspection report.

    The certificate template looks like shown here at the right and operators should receive the certificate together with the inspection report not later than 30 days after the inspection was completed.

    Please note that you have to check and observe the results of the inspection, highlighted in the inspection report. All action points must be fullfilled within the agreed timescale to validate the certificate.

    An „ERCA Certified Inspection Body“ will make use of an online documentation software and will collect, process and store following data using the software. Due to this fact also the ERCA Web Administrator Team can access those data. All persons involved undertake not to grant access to the documentation to anyone other than the persons entrusted with the execution of the inspection and documentation with the process.

  • Address
  • Contact details
  • Results/findings of the inspection
  • Scope / Type of the inspection
  • Details of the inspecting company and inspectors
  • A copy of the report and the certificate to prevent unintended deletion
  • Certificate holders can unsubscribe the e-mail-list at each time and can request to get their data deleted, but have to understand that services cannot being provided any longer as those data are crucial to process inspections.