No matter if you’re only starting a company or have been doing work at height for a while now, it’s of the utmost importance that you understand how essential properly securing and anchoring your workers is. Many businesses think that a warning line and a monitor system are enough to protect the workforce from falls but this approach provides no protection at all.
Nowadays, technological advancements make it much easier to ensure the safety of everyone on site but training when it comes to using this technology cannot be overlooked either. Every worker should know which anchor points are valid and which should be avoided, and if they cannot assess these points properly, they need further training. For example, for something to qualify as an anchor, it needs to be able to withstand 5,000 pounds of force per person attached.
Keep on reading if you are not yet familiar with the types of anchor points that you should use in your business.
For starters, you could use an existing structure. Some buildings have a permanently installed bollard on the roof that can be used for fall arrest. Keep in mind, however, that these are designed to be used by one person and can support at least 5,000 pounds. If there are two attachments, then two persons could attach to it as these are designed for 10,000 lbs.
Moreover, some roofs might have anchor points that are located on parapet walls so look out for those as well.
However, if no such bollards exist on the building, you and your workers should not risk anyone’s safety by attaching to just any other structure. It’s vital to know which points can be used as anchors as even seeing a structural I-Beam cannot guarantee the safety of everyone without an expert engineer deciding which equipment is necessary to connect to it.
On the other hand, when a company cannot be sure there are any existing structures that it can use as anchor points, it’s best to opt for an engineered structure. That way, your employees will use the roof anchor points that they know are valid and reliable. These come in many shapes and forms so it’s always recommended that you familiarize yourself with each and every type and learn which situation requires which anchor point.
Permanent engineered anchor points
For example, you can opt for permanent engineered anchor points. These systems are made to penetrate the roof and attach to the structural steel of the building. Once they are installed, they cannot be moved. Keep that in mind as your workers’ will be restricted by the anchor point’s set radius. Moreover, if you are pouring concrete, you can consider using straps that will be poured into the concrete and later cut off.
Portable anchor points
In case rooftop penetration is not possible or preferred, you can opt for a mobile anchor point. As there are many types of portable anchor points you can use, it’s crucial that your workers understand how to assemble and connect to each one.
One option here is anchor straps. These are used to connect to a supporting structural beam that was deemed safe by an engineer. When using this, it’s important to protect the strap from abrasion when it comes into contact with the beam’s edges. What is more, if there is a load-bearing steel beam available, you can also attach a beam clamp or trolley to it that will allow you to get the job done while staying safe. For an easy and effective solution, you can also go with a door bar that is wedged in a door or window frame.
Then, there are mobile anchors with weights. When properly assembled, the weight allows employees to perform the same tasks they would need roof penetration for. Even though assembly is not too complex, it is more demanding than simply tightening a clamp. Roof carts also have weights that counteract the weight of the worker that is attached to them. Furthermore, these also come with “feet” that can lodge into the fluting of a metal deck or dig into the roof. It’s crucial to understand their capacity and turn them in the right direction.
While parapets are not high enough to protect from falls, parapet clamp anchors can be used to secure a worker that is scaling the wall, for example.
Additionally, it can be difficult to find anchor points in scenarios where vertical entry is necessary. When entering a manhole, for instance, assembling a retrieval tripod that is also designed for fall protection is the best approach.
Lastly, you can opt for a horizontal lifeline. While the price could be somewhat high and the design time-consuming, installing horizontal lifelines is a great alternative as it allows your workers a full range of movements. As it can be custom-designed, you can work out a configuration that will minimize and completely eliminate hazards on the working surface. Remember that this is not something you will build for a one-day job but for projects that require regular maintenance, for example.
If you’re planning on starting a work-at-height company, you have to ensure the safety of your workforce. Keep the above-listed in mind when looking for the right roof anchor points.
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