While rooftops may be seen as endless adventure to the fearless child, they’re simply endlessly daunting to most adults.
Gone are the days when jumping off the roof seemed like a good idea. There are many dangers to both walking and working on a rooftop, particularly those that slant at steep angles.
Luckily you have options if you HAVE to venture onto the roof. Today we’d like to consider roof anchors: Nifty little devices that are saving lives by the dozen when it comes to rooftop based activities.
Whether you’re working maintenance, installing antennas or just fetching the soccer ball your little one kicked up there, a roof anchor point could mean the difference between safety and injury.
Let’s explore a few things to keep in mind when looking to purchase and install one of these devices.
What Are They?
The number of fatalities due to roof related activity is unacceptable across the board. Worldwide we see far too many individuals lose their lives simply because they attempted to climb a rooftop that was unstable and unsuitable for positioned footing. Why does this happen if there are easy solutions?
A roof anchor point is the surest way to lowering this number of accidents. It’s the single most guaranteed mechanism to save a person’s life when encountering instability on a rooftop.
Once the most stable point of a rooftop is established, an anchor point can be installed. They’re either temporary or permanent, depending on the nature of the work being done or how often an individual plan on going up there.
Here’s how they work:
- The anchor point connects to various other safety mechanisms including body harnesses and rope & pulley systems.
- The anchor point is fixed to the roof, and these harnesses are fixed to the person.
- In the event of a fall, they work together to catch and suspend the person before he or she hits the ground below.
Due to the ever changing nature of rooftop materials, there are some roofs that simply can’t support one of these devices. Some research needs to be done before seeking out anchor point installation Melbourne residents will find helpful in those instances.
For use on most buildings thought, let’s take a look at the two main types of anchor points available for purchase.
Fall Arrest System
As the name suggests, a fall arrest system works by quite literally “arresting” someone in midair so he or she won’t fall any further.
The minute the individual loses his or her balance, the device will pick up the slack of the harness and catch & suspend the individual in mid air so that the ground is never touched.
This is the more popular of the anchor points as it gives a lot more range while up on the roof. The mechanism can catch the fall from almost any point while up there.
Rope Access System
Rope access systems work slightly differently. If you can imagine a typical rope and pulley system, this is the function of these anchor points.
The device is mostly used to get individuals up onto the roof in the first place. Once connected to the harness on the ground, a pulley system is used to hoist the body up and down from the rooftop as needed.
This is less likely to save you in a fall but keeps you safe during your journey up and down from the workspace.
Ask the Right Questions
A few notable things to keep in mind when deciding what kind of anchor point is best for your rooftop would be:
- Will the anchor point need to be temporary or permanent?
- Does the nature of the work require a fall arrest system, or is a rope access system sufficient?
- What kind of harnesses will I need to supply once my roof access point is installed?
- Have you done all you can to ensure optimum safety for yourself and your workers?
Always Keep Safety In Mind
To regulate safety across the board, roof anchor points require a number of clearances to be obtained before they’re good to go for human use.
These clearances should be taken care of by the retailer or supplier that installs the roof anchor point. The process requires proof of documentation and industry cleared materials for installation. Be sure to check these when going forward with your purchase.
The following are requirements by safety standards to ensure long term success with a new anchor point system:
- Regular inspection of wear and tear on harnesses, & replacement of any if needed
- Steel anchors are preferable; Wooden ones need to be engineer certified
- Weigh capabilities should be tested prior to any individual using the anchor point
- Bolts should be cleared for use by a professional before the anchor point is used
You’ll also want to deal with a manufacturer who is tried and trusted within the industry. Take time to seek out the company’s previous installations and reviews from satisfied customers.
A manufacturer who offers long term customer service even after the initial installation is one you’d be smart to partner with. This ensures a quality product that won’t wither over a short period of time, as well as advice and assistance if something does go wrong.
Up Up Up
With proper installation and safety procedures in place, a roof anchor point can provide years of helpful (and lifesaving) service to both industrial & private home owners.
Best tip of the day: Take care and consideration when selecting an approved manufacturer to install your roof anchor point. Your life may depend on it!