Working up high in the air comes with its own set of challenges. Falling off a roof can leave you seriously injured, so it’s important to take safety precautions. The best way of ensuring your safety is to use roof anchor points. These can be installed and used as a connection point for lifelines.
If you should stumble while working, this system will keep you from falling and being seriously injured. Depending on your needs these can be a temporary or permanent fixture. Read up on this so you’re prepared for when you need them.
Types of Safety Anchors
Before any roof anchor point installation takes place, you will need to determine what kind of roof anchor will work best for you. That is why it’s important to do a pull test. This means adding more and more weight to the anchor until it fails. This will give you the breaking point and help you determine which anchor to choose.
- Mechanical anchors: This type of anchor is ideal for temporary safety solutions but is not recommended for long term use. It works by using a mechanical sleeve that opens and tightens if you fall.
- Chemical anchors: This is the safest solution although it costs a bit more. A hole is drilled and then injected with two-part chemical mortar. An anchor rod is then placed in this solution. This chemical mixture dries and creates an iron-strength bond than can last for years.
There are two different safety systems you can use with your roof anchor point:
- Rope access system: This system allows you to work in hard-to-reach areas such as atriums or exterior areas. The rope system gives you more mobility.
- Fall arrest system: Using a harness, this system will stop you or your workers from falling uncontrollably from a great height. It will be triggered if you suddenly slip and will stop you from hitting the ground.
What to Consider When Deciding on Your Anchor Point Selection
Before you decide which roof anchor point installation will be right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of work needs to be done and how long will it take?
- How much pressure can the roof anchor point handle and will it be sufficient?
- Will you be using a harness or a rope access system?
- What part of the roof do you need to attach the roof anchor to and can it be done safely?
If you are unsure, it’s best to ask for professional advice. Your safety should be the main priority.
When are Roof Safety Points Required?
If you are more than two meters off the ground, it’s advisable that you use roof safety points. This is a safety feature that is often overlooked but can save your life should an accident occur.
Use roof safety points when you do the following activities:
- Clean your gutter
- Cleaning your windows or paint the exterior of your home
- Building maintenance or any repair work
Can you Use Roof Anchor Points on a Sloping Roof?
Most anchor points are installed directly above the area where the work needs to be done. On a sloping roof this isn’t possible, so can you work on it safely?
Yes, you can, by using a throwing line which is used to get the rope over the sloping roof. The person installing the line must then find a secure object that can be used as a temporary anchor point. You’ll attach a weight to keep the rope taut. The person using the system must be placed in a harness facing the ridge and use the chest attachment point.
How Safe is Your Anchor Point?
One of the main causes of injury is safety points that fail. Using a roof anchor safety point will help keep you safe but it can only do so if it’s installed correctly.
Safety points should be connected to a fixed structure that is free from corrosion and that can’t come detached should an incident occur. This is why a pull safety test is so important. The safety line will literally become your lifeline so you can’t afford shortcuts when it comes to your safety.
There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to safety, evaluate every risk and plan for the worst case scenario. You can never be too safe in these situations.
Minimise the Risk Involved
The best way to keep yourself and your workers safe is to minimise the risk involved. This can be done by eliminating trip hazards and using the correct safety equipment for the job at hand. When working high in the air, other safety equipment you may need includes:
- Permanent ladders that are installed correctly
- Horizontal lifelines
- Crimping and installation tools to ensure everything is secured correctly
There is no need to risk being injured when you do work that requires you to be more than two feet off the ground. Take into consideration what work you plan and the safest way possible to get the job done. These guidelines should give you a good indication of what is required but if you are in doubt contact a professional for expert advice.