IPSQA 3001:2022

Standard for Public Safety Qualification: Steep Angle Operator

Standard: 3001

Version: 2022

Level: 3

Credit: 20

Subject Area: Rope

Assessment Pre-requisite: Open

Awarding Qualification: IPSQA Certificate in Public Safety (Steep Angle Operator)

Awarding Postnominal: CertPubS®(SAO)

Graduate Profile

Graduates of this certification are able, as part of a small team, rig and operate steep angle litter operations including performing the roles of attendant, edge-person, safety officer and system operator. Graduates are able to establish simple load-sharing anchors and execute system change-overs and knot passes. 

Knowledge Outcomes

K1. Recognised rope rescue hazards and identify suitable risk management controls.

K2. Identify equipment used for steep angle rescue and describe their use.

K3. Recognise hand, voice and whistle signals used in rope rescue. 

K4. Recall command tactics for rope rescue operations.

Range: May include, but not limited to designation of zones (hot, warm, cold), phases of rescue (size up, pre-rescue, rescue, termination).

K5. Recall common incident command structures and functions appropriate to rope rescue operations. 

Range: May include, but not limited to ICS, AIIMS, CIMS. 

Skill Outcomes

S1. Demonstrate tying of knots used for steep angle rescue.

Range: Figure of eight rethreaded, figure of eight bend, double fisherman’s, tape/water knot, classic 3 wrap prussik hitch, alpine butterfly. 

S2. Construct simple load-sharing anchors.

Range: tensionless hitch, wrap 3-pull 2, 3 bend. 

S3. Construct mechanical advantage systems suitable for steep angle rescue.

Range: A minimum of two from: 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1.

S4. Perform safety check on steep angle rescue systems.

Range: May include, but not limited to touch check, buddy check, ARCHER check. 

S5. Demonstrate packaging of patient into litter and ready for steep angle rescue.

Range: patient medically assessed and stabilised,  transfer onto litter, securing patient to litter, patient protected from hazards.

S6. Construct and operate edge-restraint system.

S7. Rig litter for steep angle rescue system and attendant connection.

S8. Rig belay and main, or twin tension rope system for steep angle rescue.

Range: control devices, two rope system attachment to litter, edge-protection. 

S9. Operate steep angle rescue system.

Range: lower, raise, stop, changeover lower to raise, changeover raise to lower, knot pass on lower, knot pass on raise.

S10. Perform key roles at steep angle rescue. 

Range: Edge-person, Safety Officer, Device Operator, Litter Attendant. 

S11. Inspect and maintain rope rescue equipment following steep angle rescue. 

Range: visual inspection, cleaning, drying, documentation. 

Professional Requirements

P1. Verified logged experience as steep angle operator at 5 operational and/or training activities.

P2. Verified logged experience as steep angle device operator at 5 operational and/or ascending activities. 

P3. Verified logged experience as steep angle device operator at 5 operational and/or training activities. 

P4. Verified logged experience as steep angle safety officer at 5 operational and/or training activities. 

P5. A total of 50 verified logged hours experience in steep angle rescue operations and/or training activities. 

P6. A total of 5 steep angle operations and/or exercises, verifiable through formal after action report. 

P7. Verified logged experience as steep angle operator at 5 different locations. 

P8. Holds current first aid qualification. 


Minor (O): the assessment shall end upon three or more the following minor discrepancies made by the candidate.  

O1. Poor or slow technique that may lead to safety issue

O2. Bunching, tangles or marginal slack in rope. 

O3. Excessive time to perform task 

O4. Incorrect or poor use of equipment 

O5. Fails to wear helmet in warm zone

O6. Equipment left behind

O7. Equipment dropped not causing injury

O8. Uncontrolled movement of load – minor

O9. Helmet not secure in hot zone (i.e. unfastened chin strap)

O10. Fails to interpret commands specified in briefing 

O11. Equipment used against manufacturer caution notice. 

Major (X): the assessment shall end upon any of the following major discrepancies made by the candidate.  

X1. Excessive time taken to complete task

X2. Task not completed

X3. Excessive slack in edge-restraint when in warm zone

X4. Control device not tested prior to use

X5. Uncontrolled movement of load – major 

X6. Action or inaction that causes or likely to cause injury

X7. Inadequate edge-protection where unprotected edge is a hazard

X8. Equipment used against manufacturer warning notice

X9. Candidate instructed to stop by Assessor due to medical concern. 

X10. Breach of IPSQA Code of Conduct. 

Special Notes

Skill and knowledge performance must be consistent to approved industry references.

This standard shall be assessed in a simulated steep angle rescue scenario. 

Low and high angle evidence may not be used. 

The English version of this standard takes precedence over any translated version.

Certification Period

Valid for 36 months. 

Recertification Requirements

Completion of 25 hours of Continuing Professional Development; and

Completion of 50 hours rope rescue training and/or operations. 


Approved on 16 June 2022 by the Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Certification Commission.