Pro Netting Essex Limited

The Essentials of Edge Protection

Safety should always remain a top priority in workplaces where employees have to work at height whether every day or only on occasion. All it takes is one mistake to turn a routine task into a serious injury or, at times, a fatality. Relevant data shows that fall hazards are the leading cause of construction worker deaths each year.


As an employer, you have to protect your employees from potential fall hazards when they have to work at height. The key safety issue boils down to whether or not there are fall safety systems (like edge protection) in place. Let’s take a look at the following safety tips and products to use when working at height.


Safety Tips to Avoid Fall Hazards

While accidents are by nature inevitable, some of them can be prevented. That’s why it’s incredibly valuable to make a bit of preparation when undertaking a construction project. There are many ways employers can protect their employees from fall accidents while on the job, such as:


1. Use railing

Railing is the easiest and most recommended way to keep your workers safe while complying with work health and safety standards. It is a form of passive protection and there’s no training or extra equipment needed. Employees don’t need to do anything to keep themselves safe other than stay within the rail.


This safety system can be tailored for almost every style of rooftop. From metal roof railing to non-penetrating roof railing and parapet mounted railing, you’ll find rails to be the easiest safety system to use. So, use this fall protection system when you can.


2. Select the proper PPE

Perhaps you’ve already chosen to use Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS). Ensure that you’re choosing the proper equipment. Full-body harnesses should meet industry standards, regardless of their cost.


Sometimes, the price differential offers something extra. It may seem as though you’re just paying for the name, but it’s functionality that you’re gaining. From extra D-rings to fireproof materials and arc-safe design, the more expensive harness offers these extra features. Most of the time, they cost more as they’re made to be more comfortable.


When choosing the right PPE, you first have to determine what you really need. A standard nylon harness probably won’t offer the heat protection you need if you have workers welding at heights. While comfort matters, you still want the ability to adjust the harness so it fits the user properly. So, ensure that it works as designed.


3. Inspect the PPE

It’s not enough that you’ve got the equipment and edge protection systems. You also want to ensure a protected work environment by inspecting the PPE. The brand of your PPE won’t matter if they are worn to the point that they fail.


The fall equipment systems need to be inspected annually by a competent person who has the knowledge to recognise any hazard and has the authority to correct them. Your employers should also be trained to inspect their PPE prior to every use. Anyone who might be using the devices should understand what issues to look for, what is acceptable or not, and what steps to take should there be an issue.


Pre-use checks don’t have to take a lot of time. You just need to be thorough with your PPE inspection, which could spell the difference between life and death.


4. Know what type of fall protection is required

When considering what type of fall protection to use, remember these three factors in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act: frequency, duration, and location of work. Here are the terms that will help you determine the frequency and duration of work:

  • Infrequent – This refers to work that is performed once a month or less.
  • Temporary – This refers to simple, short-term tasks that take 2 hours or less to complete.
  • Location of Work – This refers to the location in proximity to the hazard.

So, once you’ve determined the frequency and duration of work taking place, the next step is to determine the location of the work in proximity to the fall hazard. This will help you choose the right type of fall protection.


Most Popular Types of Edge Protection Systems

Now that you know some tips to avoid fall hazards, this time let’s take a look at the most common fall protection systems.


1. Scaffolding

The most common way of protecting workers from falling is the use of scaffolding. This equipment system allows construction companies to gain access to the roof, but it shouldn’t be used as a permanent solution.


Take note that not all workers who have to access a roof are construction workers. Sometimes, they are homeowners, maintenance staff, and members of the public.


2. Fixed Roof Handrail

Handrails are sturdier than scaffolding, but they are likely to pierce the roof membrane or parapet on installation. Fixed handrails are made of different materials. If they are to be installed on a roof, they should be made of a material with anti-corrosive properties.


3. Free-Standing Roof Handrail

Unlike fixed roof handrails, they do not penetrate the roof membrane. They are waterproof and keep the roof secure. Also, they will take very little time to install if they don’t require fabrication on-site.


Ensure Safety in the Workplace

When it comes to installing industrial safety netting systems, Pro Netting Essex Ltd is the one you can trust. We have edge protection solutions to make your workplace safer. For more information on construction safety netting, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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