Roof Guard Rails vs. Temporary Fall Protection: Pros and Cons

Roof Guard Rails vs. Temporary Fall Protection

Roof Guard Rails vs. Temporary Fall Protection: Pros and Cons

When it comes to working at heights, safety should always be everybody’s top priority. Whether you’re a construction worker, a roofer, or a window cleaner, taking precautions to prevent falls is critical. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when aiming to prevent falls is choosing the right fall protection system for the job. 

Both roof guard rails and temporary fall protection are popular options, each with their own pros and cons, so deciding which one to use can be challenging. Confusion surrounding safety equipment is one of the last things we need on site, so make sure you know what you’re working with when it comes to fall protection. 

This article discusses the similarities and differences between roof guard rails and temporary fall protection, and explains the pros and cons of each. For personalised advice, contact our team at Australian Height Safety Systems today.


What Are Roof Guard Rails? 

Roof guard rails are permanent safety barriers installed around the perimeter of a roof, providing a physical barrier between workers and the edge of the roof. Roof guard rails are typically made of durable materials such as aluminium or steel, and can be customised to fit the specific dimensions of your roof. 

Roof guard rails are sometimes referred to as passive fall protection. This is because they work passively to prevent falls, require minimal inspection, and essentially no training. Once installed, the rooftop worker can get to work without having to worry about setting anything up or otherwise doing any specific actions with the guard rails.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Roof Guard Rails? 

The lack of user action required is one of the main advantages of roof guard rails. Another is their durability and longevity. Once installed, they require littleRoof Guard Rails maintenance and can provide reliable fall protection for years to come. This is not only a benefit for the worker, but for management as well. Additionally, roof guard rails are highly visible, which may help to remind workers to stay away from the edge and avoid potential falls. 

However, there are also some downsides of roof guard rails to consider. For one, the installation process can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you have a large or complex roof to work on. Another downside is that roof guard rails may not be suitable for every job site, as they require a solid base for installation and may not be practical on roofs with irregular shapes or obstructions. 

Roof Guard Rail Pros: 

  • Little to no action required by the user
  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Require little maintenance
  • Highly visible

Roof Guard Rail Cons: 

  • Time-consuming installation process
  • Expensive installation process
  • Not suitable for every job site


Types Of Roof Guard Rails 

Non-Penetrating Rooftop Guard Rails 

This is a counter-balanced system that is easily adaptable to nearly any rooftop obstacle and can be easily assembled by just two people. It aims to protect large sections of roofs and can also provide spot protection for smaller areas. 

Parapet Guard Rail 

This is a type of permanent guard rail that is attached directly to the top or side of a roof parapet. Parapet guard rails are typically less expensive than non-penetrating guard rails, but the labour required to install them may come at a higher cost as it needs to be performed by a suitable parapet.


What Is Temporary Fall Protection? 

Temporary fall protection methods are typically portable and can be set up and taken down quickly, making them ideal for short-term projects or job sites where space is limited. Temporary fall protection can take many forms, including harnesses, lifelines, and anchor points. 

Much like how roof guard rails are mostly associated with passive fall protection, temporary fall protection is closely aligned with what’s known as active fall protection. This means that the user needs to put in active effort and action when using it, and that it requires ongoing maintenance, inspection, and management. It also requires initial training to make sure the user knows how to use it effectively.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Temporary Fall Protection? 

One of the key advantages of temporary fall protection is its versatility. Since these systems are portable, they can be used on a variety of job sites and roof types. Temporary fall protection is also often more affordable than roof guard rails, making it a popular choice for smaller companies or those on a tight budget. 

However, there are also some downsides to consider. Temporary fall protection requires careful planning and installation to ensure that it is effective and safe. Improper installation or use can lead to serious accidents or injuries. Additionally, temporary fall protection may not provide the same level of security and peace of mind as a permanent system like roof guard rails.


Temporary Fall Protection Pros: 

  • Versatile
  • Portable
  • Can be used on a variety of job sites
  • Can be used on a variety of roof types
  • Tends to be more affordable than roof guard rails


Temporary Fall Protection Cons: 

  • Requires careful planning
  • Requires careful installation
  • May provide a lower level of security and peace of mind than a permanent system

Whether you choose roof guard rails or temporary fall protection, the main thing to consider is what’s safest and most appropriate for the specific job at hand. The system you choose also needs to meet all relevant safety standards and regulations, so ensure you take this into account while making your decision.


Find The Right Protection For You With Australian Height Safety Systems 

Both roof guard rails and temporary fall protection offer important benefits for ensuring worker safety on elevated work areas such as roofs and other tall structures. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which is best for your site based on various factors such as safety regulations, the duration of the project, and the type of work being performed. 

At Australian Height Safety Services, we value safety above all else on any job site and encourage you to do the same. With our range of guard rails, temporary fall protection, and other fall protection solutions, we’re your first step towards safety. To find out more about what we can offer you, get in contact by giving us a call on 1300 941 211 today!



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