The key to successful fall protection design lies in identifying the criteria affecting the roof and the way workers will interact with it when performing their duties. Whilst every effort should be made to completely eliminate risk by locating plant and equipment in safe locations, it is inevitable that guttering, skylights, chimneys and other equipment will at some point require maintenance where a fall risk is evident.
Remember under legislation the designer is legally responsible for ensuring that adequate provision is made for protecting workers working at height throughout the building’s life.
The highest priority is to consider ‘collective’ measures such as guardrails but, in practice, this approach is generally limited to flat roofed areas and there may also be architectural, technical, cost and a host of other reasons why collective solutions are not suitable.
In these situations, Cable Restraint or Fall Arrest Systems, offer the most practical solution. Crucially, Barton’s systems provide an easy, efficient and thoroughly dependable method of complying with all safety at height regulatory requirements.
Design considerations for cable systems:
- Access points
- Ground clearance, location of the system and number of users
- Choosing fall arrest vs fall restraint
- Choosing perimeter systems vs ridge system
Choosing fall arrest vs fall restraint
Fall restraint system
- This type of system will prevent the worker from reaching any point where a fall can occur but allows full access to carry out work activities.
- The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used are critical parts of the system design and operation.
- The use of the incorrect PPE may cause the worker to be unprotected.
Hence, Latchways recommends that all anchorages and components are designed to fall arrest standards. Therefore if the system is misused, for example the wrong PPE is worn, the system will still protect the worker.
Fall arrest system
- Here a worker may be allowed to reach the point where a fall can occur.
- This type of system will protect the worker from serious injury as it minimises the effect of any fall.
- A minimum fall clearance of approximately 6 meters is required. This height is required to accommodate:
- Lanyard length
- Energy absorber deployment
- Anchor line deflection
- The height of the worker.
Without this clearance, the worker may strike the ground or obstacle before a fall is arrested.
- With ankle height systems a short lanyard should be used wherever possible, while allowing the user free movement. Such systems have a higher free fall distance.
- Where there is insufficient fall clearance, a 'guard the hazard' approach must be adopted.