The problem with a cable system is that unless it operates as fall restraint, it will still allow a fall to take place. This means that some degree of injury is a possibility. Along with this, a rescue plan would need to be in place for the victim, getting them back to a location where they can be medically assessed as soon as possible.
While a 'fall restraint' cable system will prevent the user from falling over the edge of the building, there are still other factors which need to be taken into consideration, such as wearing the appropriate PPE and also ensuring that it has been maintained and is fit for purpose. A cable system can also be a lot more restrictive than a guardrail system, as it will only allow you to access certain areas, and can also be hampered by maintenance equipment.
So what considerations should be made when installing a guardrail system? What options are there, and do they all provide the same level of protection? What is the function of each option?
Keeguard is a non-penetrative system. It eliminates the chance of a leaking roof as it is counterbalanced by weights which enable it to sit freely on the roofs surface.
Being collective roof edge protection, there is no limit to the amount of people who can access the roof area at one time, this is governed more so by the size and structure of the roof.
There is no specialised training for access required, no maintenance or annual inspection.
KeeGuard Premium can be used where there isn't space for a counterbalanced system. The weights are located directly beneath the guardrails and don't extend outwards the same way as the regular KeeGuard system. This is particularly useful on a narrow roof space, or where maintenance equipment takes up a lot of room.
Available for roof pitches up to 10°.
This option is perfect for buildings where it is preferable to have the guardrail out of sight and not possible to view the system from ground level.
The Foldshield is so called because it contains locking pins at the foot of the uprights, allowing the system to be raised or dropped one section at a time. When the roof maintenance is complete, simply remove the pins and lower the section, allowing it to be kept out of sight until required again.
The system is designed for roof slopes of up to 10°.
The KeeGuard Topfix option is used on metal profile roofs. The system incorporates the use of a base plate which is attached to the roof cladding using rivets. These are sealed off to prevent any water getting through, thus maintaining the integrity of the roof.
The Topfix guardrail option can be used on pitches of up to 45°.
While each of these guardrail systems provide safe and secure protection, there are some other things to consider. This is particularly the case with the Foldshield and Topfix systems.
Being a collapsible system, the Foldshield guardrail needs to be erected in a certain way to ensure that the worker is safe at all times. This involves lifting the guardrail one section at a time, while staying behind the assembled section. When each section is erected, a locking pin is then inserted to hold the guardrail in place.
The Topfix system is attached to metal clad roofs, and these types of roofs can contain skylights or fragile sections. For this reason, other areas within the roof surface may need to be surrounded with guardrail to ensure that nobody falls through these sections.
When designing a fall prevention system, the safest solution to suit the roof environment will always be the desired option. There cannot be any area accessible where a fall might occur, and this is why each of the options above were originally developed, to suit the individual roof. The building aesthetics can govern the installation, as can the location of any services or equipment. Many roofs are crammed with equipment such as air conditioning units, and only the Foldshield option is a possibility.
Parapets are often included in the design of a roof, but are often not tall enough to keep employees safe when working at this height. The top rail of a guardrail system is 1100mm high, so often we will extend the parapet to this height by adding fixed guardrail to the top of it to make up the required distance. This guardrail extension can be attached to the parapet using railing or wall flanges.
If there is no suitable guardrail option, then the next safest method on the hierarchy of controls should be implemented. It is at this stage that a fall arrest/restraint system should be considered, with the same process of consideration being undertaken. This includes surveying the roof area, identifying the hazards and carefully designing and installing the new system to suit the given circumstances.
With years of accumulated experience, Skyways design team can quickly identify the most suitable solution to keep maintenance personnel safe at all times.
Did you know:
We also supply Kee Klamp handrail fittings for creating strong durable handrails which are easily designed and installed.