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Where Is Guardrail Required?

Ensuring end users have the correct equipment to conduct Work at Height tasks, whilst remaining compliant with regulations, is now more important than ever – due to falls from height sparking an upward trend of 1% in 2018 compared to those in 2017.

Last Updated: 12th February 2024

With more specifiers taking into account this upward trend, we have seen the inclusion of Work at Height equipment into refurbishment and new build developments at earlier stages than ever before. In this blog our specialists outline regulations and standards, and also provide advice on the scenarios where Collective Edge Protection (Guardrails) are best suited to provide end users with the most appropriate solution…

The Regulations

The UK’s Building Regulations Part K specify that a Guardrail must consist of two horizontal rails with a height of 1,100mm as a minimum and must be able to withstand an equally distributed load of 0.74kN per metre with a point load of 0.5kN.

Taking into consideration the following clause within Part K of the Building Regulations, “If access will be required less frequently than once a month, it may be appropriate to use temporary Guarding…” – providing a ‘slackening’ of the suggested loads specified, where the frequency of access is low and controlled.

TIP: consider arranging for a Work at Height Risk Assessment to be undertaken by a competent specialist – they will be able to provide you with a solution best fit for your building, and Work at Height activities. The Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) also require this, to ensure that the Guardrail solution is suitable and sufficient to prevent both persons and objects from falls.


The Standards

In the UK and Europe, standards relating to both temporary and permanent Collective Edge Protection include:

  • Workplace Health Safety & Welfare Regulations 1992
  • BS 6180 Protective Barriers In and About Buildings 1999
  • The Building Regulations Part K 2013
  • HSE Specialist Inspectors Report No 15 1987
  • BS 6399 Part 1 Loading for Building 1996
  • BS 6399 Part 2 Code of Practice for Wind Loading 1997
  • Construction Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1996
  • HSE Health & Safety in Roofwork 2012
  • EN 13374 Temporary Edge Protection Systems – Product Specification, Test Methods 2013
  • EN 14122-3 Safety of machinery
  • Permanent means of access to machinery, stairways, stepladders and guardrails 2010
  • The Work at Height Regulations 2005


Freestanding Weighted Guardrail

Freestanding edge protection systems use proven counterbalance design to achieve an exceptional, non-penetrative solution for roof surfaces where Work at Height is unavoidable, with risk of water ingress damage eliminated.

Our specialists recommend opting for a freestanding solution for refurbishment projects, and in scenarios were a new roof may be required due to poor condition.


Collapsible Guardrail

Collapsible edge protection systems use innovative technology in ultra-strong hinged bracket components, which allow the system to easily fold down on itself when not in use. As a freestanding system, there is also no need to penetrate your roof covering for this collective fall prevention measure.

Our specialists recommend opting for a collapsible folding solution for visually sensitive buildings – including listed and historic sites.


Fixed Parapet Guardrail

Securing onto the coping stones of a wall or roof surface, fixed edge protection systems are always present with no activation required by personnel meaning they are safe at all times (fixing methods can vary dependent on the condition of the substrate).

Our specialists recommend opting for a fixed solution if Work at Height or access through the roof space is a regular requirement.

TIP: parapet walls should be no less than 1,100mm in height as if any lower, they can present a fall risk for any personnel working on your roof.


For free, no obligation advice on your Collective Edge Protection requirements, get in touch with our friendly specialists today!


Related Products and Services

Guardrail and Handrail

Edge Protection that collapses when not in use – perfect for listed and historic buildings due to its folding, freestanding configuration.

Fixed Guardrail and Handrail

Due to its fixing capabilities to parapets, this form of Edge Protection delivers 24/7 protection for personnel Working at Height.

Freestanding Guardrail
and Handrail

Using counterbalance design, its configuration provides the ability to protect personnel with no need to penetrate the roof surface.

Guardrail and Handrail

A cost-effective alternative to temporary scaffolding with short term hires – providing the highest levels of safety for personnel.

Temporary Edge Protection Staircases

Mitigate fall hazards from open stairwells on live construction sites with specialist, adjustable temporary staircases.

Edge Protection Compliance Testing

Guardrail and Handrail systems used as a collective measure of protection for personnel Working at Height should be inspected at least once every 12 months.

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