All You Need to Know About Choosing a Fall Protection Anchorage Point: Part One

All You Need to Know About Choosing a Fall Protection Anchorage Point: Part One

13th August 2020

If you’re working on any project that puts you at risk of falling, it’s important to ensure you’ve taken all the necessary steps to enhance your safety. You need to invest in high-quality safety equipment and find the right fall protection anchor points as well. CE marked fabrications are proof the product has been designed and manufactured to meet the relevant EU health and safety directives. Your protection gear will be almost worthless without a proper anchorage point. This piece contains everything you need to know about choosing a fall protection anchorage point.

What are Fall Protection Anchor Points?

These are secure places for you to attach your safety equipment such as lanyards, deceleration gear, and lifelines. Most buildings have anchor points for people to attach their safety equipment. However, not all anchor points are safe enough to use, especially if they’re not installed into strong materials that can withstand the sudden weight thrust upon them (usually up to 5000 lbs per worker attached) should a worker fall.

When determining the type of anchor point you need, it’s important to consider the material you’re installing it to and how you plan to use it. An anchor point used on a building made of cement may be different from that used in a building made of wood.

Places You Should Not Attach an Anchor Point

As mentioned above, not all anchor points are safe enough to hold a falling person. Some may break, bend, or fall when weight is suddenly placed upon them. Do not attach an anchor point to any of the following items:

  • Railings

  • Roof stacks

  • Scaffolding

  • Ductwork or vents

  • Light fixtures

  • Standard guardrails

  • Any electrical equipment

  • Rebar

  • Ladders

  • Wiring harnesses

Common Types of Anchor Points

Here’s a look at the common types of anchor points:

 

  1. Engineered Systems

These are fall protection systems inspected and certified by professionals to meet the relevant HSE fall weight requirements. They’re ready to use and you’ll hardly need any additional testing at the site after purchasing them. If you decide to purchase non-engineered systems, ensure to consult an engineer to test them and advise you on the safety of the product.

 

  1. Concrete Mount

As the name suggests, concrete mounts can be attached to cement materials. They’re strong enough for safety from rappelling and falls. You can attach them using a torque anchor and/or a chemical fix.

 

  1. Surface Mount

These are very common easy-to-install anchors that are safe enough to be used as fall arrest or fall restraint systems. They’re best for use on a metal roof and can be attached to the roof using rivets and screws.

 

  1. Surface Mount for Rappelling

This type is the best choice for rappelling over the side of a building. They’re strong enough for both rappelling and falls on the sides of high-rise buildings. They attach to metal cladding.

 

  1. Reusable Anchor Points

These are permanent multi-functional anchors used for fall safety and rappelling. The materials that make up the roof will dictate the type of anchor points to use. To reuse the anchor points, you’ll require to perform regular checkups, maintenance, and certifications to ensure their safety.

 

  1. Temporary Anchor Points

If your building lacks permanent anchor points, you’ll be required to use temporary anchor points. They’re strong enough for fall safety, but aren’t ideal for rappelling. They easily attach to the roof of a building.