Safe Access Equipment for Working on Roofs

Safe Access Equipment for Working on Roofs

02nd May 2019

When it comes to work at height, working on roofs presents a number of fall hazards that need to be taken into consideration.  Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most common rooftop safety products for working at height.

Guardrails – there are two main types of rooftop guardrail systems – free-standing and fixed.  Although the two types are similar and comprise many of the same components, they are specifically designed to different types of roofs and it’s important that the right type is chosen for maximum protection.  Free-standing guardrails present workers from accidentally stepping onto fragile parts of a roof (such as air vents and skylights), whilst fixed systems are generally used to prevent access to the edge of the roof, where the risk of a fall form height is likely.Fall Protection Post

Roof Access Step Units and Stairs – these are designed to provide access where the angle of access ranges from 30° to 50° in pitch.  They are used to gain access to specific areas of the roof and can be fixed or free-standing, depending on the individual requirements.  Step units and stairs can be supplied with traditional guardrails or cable-based safety systems.  While step-units provide a way to traverse ducting, parapet walls, conduits or other types of roof obstruction, access stairs allow safe and seamless movement from one structural level to another.  Both types of equipment are suitable for activities that require frequent travel between differing roof levels and access to operating platforms to reach plant and machinery which may require regular routine inspection, maintenance and repair work.

Roof Lifeline Cable Systems – a lifeline is a fall protection safety device in the form of an open fence fabricated from wire and stanchions secured around the perimeter of an area to prevent accidental falls.  Construction site lifeline systems include attachment brackets, safety lanyards and harnesses and are either designed to arrest personnel in the event of a fall (active systems) or to restrain workers from reaching a fall hazard (restraint systems).

Fragile Roof Walkways – if work on a fragile roof cannot be avoided, a temporary or permanent walkway may be used in combination with a guardrail.  These walkways may be fixed or free-standing.  In cases where long-term, secure access is necessary, a fixed access walkway should be installed for maximum safety.  When it comes to a fragile roof, the preferred option would always be roof replacement.

Skylight Covers – skylights are fragile by nature, so it’s vital that if regular access to the roof is required, that skylight protection covers are used so that workers can safely walk on them.  However, it is preferable to provide a safe access route to any plant or machinery that avoids the need to step on or over skylights.  This can be effectively achieved by installing a fixed or temporary demarcation barrier to guide workers on the safest route possible.