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The Fall Protection Systems Guide

Updated on April 12, 2016

What Is A Fall Protection System?

Fall protection systems are used by gutter cleaners, painters, electricians and other tradesman that regularly climb roofs. But recent innovations have allowed anchor points to be more affordable, and so now savvy home-owners are using fall protection systems on their properties. This article will highlight the basics of a fall protection system, and help you decide what sort of system you will need for your property. This article is only a guide, please contact a professional fall protection systems installer for the best advice.

Fall Arrest vs Fall Restraint

A fall arrest system is a fall protection system that gives you freedom on the roof while still providing protection from falls. The fall arrest system stops you during the fall before you hit the ground. These have an energy absorbing feature, so that it is not a violent deceleration.

Fall restraint system prevents you from reaching the edge of the roof, and therefore the danger zone. This type of fall protection system, provides great safety, but limits workers freedom on roofs.

Anchor Points

This is the central aspect of your fall restraint system. An anchor point is installed at a secure location, either temporarily or permanently on your roof. This serves as the secure point which you attach your ropes to. Anchor points need to be installed by professionals, and certified annually, to ensure that they are in good working condition. If the wrong anchor points are installed they will not provide adequate protection, and could easily fall out when under load. There are different anchor types for every roof, so call a professional anchor installer who can help you choose the right type.

For example:

French Creek removable anchor – A temporary anchor for residential properties

Guardian CB 12 Anchor – Most popular commercial roofing anchor

Guardian Beamer 2000 – Used by roofers on steel roof structures

Miller Grip Anchor – Anchor point for concrete roofs.

Lanyards

Lanyards come with various functionalities and load ratings, but they have one simple function, to connect you to the anchor point. They are made of durable materials, and are extensively tested to ensure that they are safe to use. There are retractable lanyards which work in the same manner as a retractable seat belt. Alternatively there are also energy absorbing lanyards which do not have the retractable feature.

Body Harness

The lanyard is attached to the body harness, which distributes the load evenly, and ensures no loss of connection. The harness needs to be adequate for the tasks at hand, and also checked and load weighted. There is a wide array of body harnesses on the market, both in price and functionality. Contact a fall protection system installer for the latest ranges, and for specialist advice.

Universal Harness – The simplest type of body harness

Construction Harness – Comes with added functionality including tool belt option, waist belt and additional pockets and added padding.

Ladder Brackets

Ladder brackets are useful for individuals who are working at heights, and do not have an additional person to spot them. Australian legislation requires that workers have ladder s secured, and tied off when working at heights. A ladder bracket is permanently installed in a roof, and prevents the ladder from falling, and from any horizontal slipping. It provides great protection, and is not as expensive as a full fall prevention system.

This article is only intended as a guide. Contact a fall protection expert for specialist advice, and the latest news on working at heights.

A very good height safety video. Good shocking start, then very educational.

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