ABOUT THE TRADE ASSOCIATION
The merger of SAEMA and RAFAA in January 2009 came about as both Associations recognised they had common areas of objectives and activities including:
SAEMA(The Specialised Access Engineering Manufacturers Association)
The Association was formed in 2004 with the following objectives:
RAFAA(Rope Access and Fall Arrest Association)
The Rope Access Industry, can be said to have commenced in South Africa during the late ‘80s when Johannesburg rock climbers used their climbing experience and equipment to clean windows on high-rise buildings. This activity rapidly gained commercial acceptance and now the practice is common in most SA cities and many industrial sites both on and off-shore.
During the 90’s it became apparent that the young industry’s reliance on skills gained in recreational climbing were no longer a viable substitute for recognized standards. As a result the South African Industrial Rope Access Association (SAIRAA) was founded by approximately 20 parties involved in the rope access industry. The initial mandate of this body was to create a forum for the growing local industry, to assist in the writing of SABS standards and fulfill a certification role for the training of technicians in accordance with the SABS standards. SAIRAA fulfilled these requirements until 2005 when it again became clear that change would be required to accommodate the growth of the work at height industry as a whole, in particular the fall arrest sector. The challenge was to adapt our system to accommodate this growth without compromising the existing standards. At the same time it made sense to align the training and certification system with the country’s developing National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
As a result SAIRAA changed its name to RAFAA (to enable the direct involvement of the fall arrest industry) and began the process of establishing SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) recognized unit standards for rope access and fall arrest skills training. The Association has been fortunate in the assistance it has received from the Services Seta and through their involvement the SABS standards where therefore aligned to the requirements of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), resulting in 8 separate unit standards covering rope access and fall arrest skills training.
The Association’s main objective was to ensure best practice in operational and safety standards was applied uniformly throughout the industry. Central to this objective was the training, assessment and certification of technicians.
At the time of the merger over 3 000 technicians had been trained in the disciplines of rope access and height safety and fall arrest