All buildings or roofs require cleaning, painting and other maintenance works, and these workers need safe and secure access to complete any work that is required.
Yet, falls from height remain one of the most common workplace injuries in Australia. For this reason, height safety systems are vital.
Height safety systems, or commonly referred to as roof safety systems or fall arrest systems allow safe access to places where someone might be working at heights.
It’s a system that allows workers to secure themselves and protects them by minimizing the risk of accidents.
Ensuring You and Your Workers Are Protected
When working at heights, it is essential that all workers are equipped with height safety equipment that protects them from injuries, falls, and fatalities. Here, the WHS requires fall protection from heights of four feet or more for general industry work and fall protection from heights of six feet or more for construction work.
There are, however, so many different types of height safety equipment available that it can be hard to distinguish when you don’t work in the industry or get to use height safety products every day.
A height safety system can include roof anchor points, roof access hatches, roof guardrails, roof walkway systems, roof access ladders, static lines, and step ladders, all which have their own specific features and safety purpose.
Roof anchor points, for example, help protect workers from falls because they connect with workers’ height safety and other personal protection equipment to facilitate safe working at heights. Using this system, workers must attach safety harnesses, ropes, and other equipment to the roof anchor to be safe. For this reason, it’s often an essential part of the fall arrest or height safety system installed on a roof.
Likewise, roof guardrail systems offer workers excellent protection against falls and can be anything from a simple guardrail to a fully integrated height safety system.
Irrespective of the height safety product being used, however, it’s crucial that your height safety systems are approved and accredited for its specific purpose. Apart from this, it’s also vital that the height safety systems be regularly inspected and that all workers are equipped with the right personal protection equipment..
Assessing the Type of Roof You Have
The choice of height safety equipment will often depend on the type of roof you have. In other words, the specifics of your roof will guide you when researching different safety systems for your workers.
1. Roofs With Skylights
When your workers will primarily be working around skylights or other openings on a roof, special care needs to be taken because workers can fall through these openings while at work.
For these areas to be protected, WHS requires that guardrails be set up to prevent falls and that a fall arrest system, or a cover that can support two times the weight that may be placed on it, be installed to ensure workers’ safety. When installing safety anchors, it is essential to take skylights into consideration.
2. Roofs With Ramps and Runways
Any ramps and runways need to be specially protected by guardrails similar to access points like ladders and hatches.
According to WHS guidelines, guardrails should be erected on every unprotected edge of the ramp or runway.
3. Roofs With Access Ways
When access to roofs is only possible to workers via access ways like roof hatches, these cause a safety hazard and needs to be protected with guardrails. Likewise, all stairway floor openings need to be protected by a safety railing. These safety regulations also apply to hatches, ladderway floor openings, and chute floor openings.
Fall Arrest vs. Rope Access Systems
Although both can be an important part of an integrated height safety system, they differ in terms of application.
All rope access/abseil anchor points can be used for fall arrest if it is 15 kN rated. However, fall arrest anchors are not designed for abseiling. Therefore, it is especially important to have right anchors on multi-level buildings.
As the name suggests, a fall arrest system is a system that arrests or stops a worker in mid-air when a fall occurs and prevents them falling down to a lower level.
In contrast, a rope access system is a method of enabling workers to perform work on exterior areas of buildings at heights using a rope abseil system. This form of abseil system enables workers to access the sides of a building for maintenance, repairs and painting works.
The Right Height Safety System For Your Needs
At Skypro, we pride ourselves as in designing, installing, testing, and certifying height safety systems. We manufacture anchor points and fall arrest equipment in-house, ensuring compliance with all Australian standards. All our safety systems are uniquely designed, tailored to the needs and specifications of our clients.
Contact us today for any of your height safety needs.
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