On a Soccer Stadium Rooftop with Jose Luis
Jose Luis is a passionate rope access professional. He tells us about his everyday life, from an aerial worksite on the rooftop of a Spanish stadium to unexpected friendships dozens of meters off the ground!
November 23 2020
Rope access and confined space
Jose Luis ORTEGA EGEA
What is your job and what would you like to tell us about your passions or hobbies?
I’m a rope access professional in the construction industry. I have been involved in the vertical world for more than 23 years. In addition to being passionate about my work, I am also passionate about the Petzl RopeTrip® competitions.
Can you tell us about your company?
Our company is called Vertraver Trabajos Verticales, in Spain.
Tell us about one or your worksites.
What was the objective?
The last project that we worked on was mounting steel structures for the installation of an aerial camera in the San Sebastián Real Arena soccer stadium.
What techniques were used?
For this project, a complete team was mobilized for different tasks: welders, engineers, camera technicians, and even an at-height rescue team. Tools and a lot of equipment were transported, including all the equipment needed for the teams on site; for work at height, rope access, rescue, and the telecommunication team.
What are some important points, constraints, difficulties?
For this job, the client contacted us because they needed a team to install the entire safety system for the workers. We needed to help install the load hauling systems in order to raise the heavy pieces to be installed, each one having a designated place. This gave us a lot of work to do because we had to move in the lower section of the stadium roof, installing numerous anchor points for both the work and safety ropes, and for hauling the steel structures, all while leaving them available for the audiovisual technicians.
We also had to place several pulleys for the camera cable in a tube with a 90cm diameter, at 14 meters above the stadium roof. This required us to install releasable rope systems using a sort of “sling-shot” from the top of the stadium, because there was no other way to access the tubes...that added another adventurous aspect to this spectacular project!
What were some of the high points at this worksite?
Definitely supervising the professionals working in the worksite, because there are many inherent risks working at height and using mechanical tools such as grinders and welding units. Hauling loads and assembling parts also requires maximum concentration and communication among the whole team, because people are manipulating the loads while suspended in air.
What makes up the everyday in your profession?
For this project, I was in charge of installing fall-arrest systems and supervising the other rope access professionals. With another colleague, we also made up the rescue team in case someone needed to be rescued and evacuated from the work zone. However, my workday is usually pretty varied; creating the budget, installing anchor points and ropes, performing various tasks, training for the RopeTrip® with the team, or even consulting other companies about how to organize work-at-height jobs.
Can you tell us a funny, personal, or improbable anecdote?
It’s true that after being in this industry for so long, I’ve seen it all! For example, I can tell you about something nice that happened while restoring the skylight of a building, in the company of a neighbor. Every morning, through the window, she prepared a breakfast of café au lait and pastries for the whole team. The thing is, we were hanging 30 meters off the ground, a true taste of glory!