23 Oct When Are Roof Guardrails Required?
Perhaps one of the most undervalued pieces of height safety equipment when working on rooftops is guardrails. More than a good idea, they’re a safety requirement in many situations, such as roofs that have a specific incline. The type of fall protection that may be required for contractors to comply can depend on multiple factors.
Knowing when roof edge protection is required and when other forms of fall protection will suffice can be a challenge, which is why it’s important to partner with an expert in fall prevention and workplace safety. Contact our team at Australian Height Safety Services for more information.
Understanding the Need for Fall Protection
Fall protection is typically required when individuals are working at a minimum height of two meters and over. The fall protection required will depend largely on the type of fall hazards that employees will encounter and the work that will be performed. If employees will be walking or working within two metres of a roof’s edge, the job will require guardrails, a static line, or both.
The goal of safety equipment such as roof guardrails is to create the highest level of control for averting and preventing a fall. Contractors should strive to employ the highest level of safety precautions whenever possible to avoid injuries to workers and liability for the company. Roof guardrails can be used as a stand-alone option or combined with other types of systems.
A Closer Look at Guardrails
A guardrail system is an effective control measure that meets multiple safety requirements.
They are a passive roof edge protection method that doesn’t have to be altered after installation. Like all fall prevention methods, roof guardrails should only be installed by an experienced professional. They should have the knowledge to ascertain the material individuals will be working on and determine the pitch of the roof, be able to recommend optimal positioning and have the ability to issue a compliance certificate.
The effectiveness of a guardrail system will depend on several factors, including:
- Whether the design is appropriate;
- Whether it has been manufactured in accordance with the designer’s specifications;
- Whether it has been appropriately tested and examined after manufacture;
- Whether it has been installed correctly (and by a competent person);
- The instructions provided to support the use and maintenance of the system; and
- Whether it is used appropriately.
Whilst designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and installers all have obligations in regard to the effectiveness of the guardrail system, users of the system (including principal contractors, construction and maintenance personnel, and other workers) also have obligations in terms of how it’s used and maintained.
When is a Guardrail System Required?
This sort of safety equipment is an absolute requirement for some types of jobs. Guardrails are especially effective when employed in proximity to roof decking, fire escapes, guttering, and vents, along with access hatches, platforms, stairways, and skylights. They fold up, store neatly when not in use, and are low maintenance and durable.
The use of roof guardrails is essential any time employees will be working in weather conditions encompassing wind and rain, or when the risk of tripping is present from protrusions and other elements. They’re equally effective as barriers to prevent access to areas when electrical lines and similar utilities are near, or when there is any doubt about the integrity of the structure.
What Does the Law Say?
According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws, control measures like roof guardrail systems must be used for:
- Housing construction work where there is a potential for a person to fall more than 3 metres;
- Other construction work where there is a potential for a person to fall more than 2 metres; or
- Construction work on a roof (including partially completed roof surfaces) with a slope of 26 degrees or less.
It should be noted that specific laws between states and territories may differ, so ensure that you’re across the requirements for your location.
About Australian Height Safety Services & Roof Edge Protection Systems
At Australian Height Safety Services, we have more than 25 years of experience in height safety and fall prevention. Our installation technicians are all licensed and highly experienced in the industry, and we guarantee the compliance of our fall prevention systems.
We are industry leaders in fall prevention and workplace safety. We can inspect and certify existing height safety systems as well as propose and install new systems that will ensure compliance and minimise the risk of worker injury.