Growing demand for industrial climbers – Vertical Pro offers expert input and new products

Trades and renewable energy as key markets for work at height

October 12, 2023 | Friedrichshafen – Occupational safety has always been an important topic in the crafts and trades sector. But this is not the only sector where awareness has been growing. Completely new labor markets are emerging as we speak. From November 24 to 25, 2023, exhibitors at Vertical Pro will present their products for numerous aspects of work at height, rope access, and fall protection. Participating organizations will also provide information on the certified education and further training offering. The daily program focuses on all matters involving occupational safety and prevention.

Environmental technology has developed into one of the fastest growing areas of work at height in recent years. Above all, renewable energy such as wind power in onshore or offshore parks, but also solar and photovoltaics on roofs, have driven the demand for workers skilled in working at height. Sven Drangeid, office manager of the German Association for Rope Access (FISAT), observes a trend towards the professionalization of leisure activities: "People try to turn their hobbies into a career, that is, to use their experience in rope climbing, caving or alpinism to form a professional mainstay." The advantage of such professionalization: The new career is extremely multifaceted and varied. However, Drangeid still sees a great "need for qualified workers at height, for whom rope access is merely one of the necessary qualifications." At any rate, about 3,000 persons currently hold an active certificate issued by FISAT.

Bernd Nehrke, owner of the occupational safety company Ropesolutions, also notes unwavering demand. Based in the Lake Constance region, his company has been on a mission to "instill a safety culture into companies" for the past 20 years and defines itself as a "troubleshooter of occupational safety issues at height and depth." A lot has changed: "Back in the early days, when we first spoke to craftsmen about personal fall protection equipment, they all but pelted us with stones," says the expert. In terms of danger awareness, he adds, things have changed enormously since then. Fall protection has now become an indispensable element of tendering procedures. 

Prevention is particularly important today, because sustainable health and safety at work not only improves operational and business processes, but also reduces costs, according to the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV). Professor Marco Einhaus from the Technical University of Munich, who is responsible for safety in building construction, knows about the statistical hazard potential of a construction site: The key factors undermining safety are the habituation effect and assembly processes not being carried out according to plan. Apart from a lack of knowledge, he identifies human behavior as the main culprit. Nehrke shares this view and states that proper fall protection training, regular further training and continuous integration of occupational safety efforts are of utmost importance. At Vertical Pro, Professor Einhaus will be speaking at the panel discussion on Friday, November 24, on the topic of "Fall protection reorganized: 5 years of the Technical Rules for Operational Safety (TRBS)” and engage in dialogue with experts on the latest findings. 

For manual and industrial work at height, rope access has many advantages over traditional scaffolding. Rope access technicians are faster, more flexible and can also work in otherwise barely reachable places. This way, there is no need for extensive barriers that would interfere with daily activities. Another area of work at height is tree inspection and tree diagnosis. This primarily concerns damage prevention, where experts can tell if there are any cracks or stability problems based on the tree's body language. With the help of rope climbing techniques, this is possible even in the smallest of spaces.

The third edition of Vertical Pro, from November 24 to 25, 2023, is a platform for diverse initiatives and organizations relating to work at height. It is not just new information, but also a variety of practical rope rescue demonstrations, as well as opportunities to witness the equipment first-hand in the Demo + Test area, that make the trade fair in Friedrichshafen th industry meeting for vertical professionals. You will find more information under, @verticalpro_official and #verticalpro. 

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