What Are the Regulations?
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 were created to provide thorough Health and Safety for any Work at Height operatives, based on previous incidents related to falls from height. In Schedule 5, Part 1 of the document, it states:
‘A personal fall protection system shall only be used if a risk assessment has demonstrated that the use of other, safer work equipment is not reasonably practicable’
In short, a Safety Line System is usually an alternative solution for buildings that cannot fit a Collective Edge Protection System such as Guardrails. This could be because the structure has a pitched roof, is visually unappealing if Guardrails are used, or has other various obstacles that make it difficult to install this solution.
The challenge is assessing what type of Fall Protection Safety Line the building requires. If there is enough space and the roof is flat, a Horizontal Fall Restraint Safety Line would be considered more appropriate. However, if the building is limited for space, is tilted at an angle of 30° (similar to that of a residential property such as a house) or if the system needs to be installed for vehicle maintenance, then a Fall Arrest System would be considered safer by industry professionals.
When is a Safety Line System Required?
A Safety Line System is usually an alternative solution for buildings that cannot fit a Collective Edge Protection System, such as Guardrails. This could be because the structure’s roof is pitched at 30° or more, is visually unappealing if Guardrails are used, or has other various obstacles that make it difficult to install this solution.
When a building has sufficient space and has a roof that can sustain someone walking on the flat surface, Horizontal Safety Lines are recommended by industry experts. These systems operate with a lanyard attached to the Safety Line on one side of the wire rope, with the other side attached to a harness worn by a qualified Working at Height professional. This allows personnel to walk alongside the Safety Line and perform any maintenance, installation or other tasks while also avoiding a fall. These systems are very adaptable and have variations for different types of roofs, such as Flat, Metal Deck or Standing Seam Roof solutions.
Vertical Fall Arrest
These are also known as Overhead Fall Arrest Tracks, and they are commonly used in warehouses, depots or for vehicle maintenance. The system is connected to overhead Anchor Posts with a rail track attached to them. Specially designed runners slide along the rail, enabling personnel to walk while attached, and allowing them to carry out tasks at height safely. It is typical to see train depots with these systems, as Work at Height personnel need to safely access the roof of the trains to carry out maintenance, repairs and other various jobs.
Different types of Vertical Fall Arrest solutions can be adapted for other systems, such as Access Ladders. Heightsafe can install specially designed ladders that have a rail or cable running up the middle, meaning Work at Height personnel can attach themselves to the ladder. This decreases the risk of a fall from height if they lose their grip or slip on the steps.
In the United States, health and safety says that it is mandatory for cages surrounding Access Ladders to be removed and replaced with a Vertical Fall Arrest System, as there is an increased likelihood of operatives hitting their head on the cage when falling. This solution is also becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, and similar American-style guidelines may be introduced in the future.
Horizontal Fall Arrest
Like a Fall Restraint system, this solution consists of a short wire rope with one end attached to an Anchor Post or Safety Line via a lanyard and the other side attached to a body harness. The rope is short, and the reason for this is because it is designed to stop personnel from falling off a building, but unlike Vertical Fall Arrest, the system is usually parallel with the legs of the Work at Height operative using it, as opposed to being above them. These systems are ideal for pitched roofs or other areas at height with limited space.
For more information on our Safety Line services, watch Heightsafe’s video below:
Heightsafe’s Safety Line Solutions
We offer a wide range of products and services when it comes to Fall Protection, with Safety Lines solutions being at the forefront of our expertise. If you would like to know more about our Fall Protection services, Contact Us now.