Working at height calls for extreme caution to avoid unfortunate accidents such as falls, injuries or worse still—death. This is why construction companies must employ the necessary safety procedures to protect their workers. And fall protection systems are one such pre-requisite. Their main purpose is to prevent workers from falling. Even if they do fall, such systems ensure that the workers don’t sustain serious injuries.
There are different types of fall protection systems available with our emphasis today being on roof anchor points. In this article, we discuss the different types of roof anchor points including all you need to know to use them.
What Are Roof Anchor Points?
Simply put, roof anchor points are vital components of fall protection systems. As the name suggests, they are installed on the roof. After which you connect different types of tie offs that are designed to prevent workers from falling.
Types of Roof Anchor Points
There are different types of roof anchor points and they’re classified according to the following:
- Their application
- The number of people who are going to use them
- Their functionality
We explain the above in detail.
Classification According to Number of People Using Them
Before you pick one, you need to figure out if it’s for one person or a group of people. You have two options as we’ll explain below.
If only one person is working on a certain roof, then a stand-alone roof anchor will suffice. This can usually be in the form of a tie-off which is designed for a single person.
If more than one person is working on a particular roof, then you’ll need a more permanent fixture such as a horizontal lifeline. This type of equipment is designed to allow workers to safely travel horizontally over a long distance.
Classification According to Application
Where do you want to use the roof anchor points? Sure, roof anchor points are used on roofs but they’re certainly not a one-size-fits-all. The type you use on a commercial building is different from the one you use on a residential one. We list the three common applications.
Commercial Roof Anchors
Commercial roofs require a specific type of roof anchor point. Given the nature of these buildings, you want to use a roof anchor point that’s non-penetrating. Here we mean an anchor point that won’t penetrate into your roof which may result in leaks. Such occurrences can negatively affect your warranty.
This kind of roof anchor will use weights to attach a worker’s harness to the roof. Examples of a non-penetrating roof anchor points include weighted anchor points or lanyards.
Residential Roof Anchors
Here you’ll need roof anchor points that you can connect to the wood sheathing commonly found in residential roofs. For residential roofs you can either use throw away anchor points or a more permanent option such as horizontal lifeline systems.
Standing Seam Roof Anchors
Standing seam roof anchors will require a non-penetrating anchor point. This type of anchor has panels that run vertically up to the roof. And each panel is joined to the next with a raised interlocking seam. Most roof anchor points can be connected onto standing seam roofs using a clamping mechanism.
Classification According to their Functionality
Note that roof anchor points have different functionalities. And depending on the one you pick, it can either be very simple or highly complex with regards to functionality.
D-rings are generally the simplest form of roof anchor points that you can pick. Note that this type is usually designed for more permanent use, particularly on wood roof tops. What most people appreciate about D-rings is how easy they are to install.
Complete Lifeline System
Depending on the nature of the construction site—as well as your budget—you can install a complete lifeline system. This system is designed for a group of workers and allows for complete hands-free operation.
How to Pick the Right Roof Anchor Points
Now we discuss what you need to know before picking roof anchor points. Unfortunately, selecting the right roof anchor points to use is not as simple as picking the first product you see on the market. From the above, it’s clear that the one you pick will depend on many factors such as application and functionality.
To pick the right anchor point and prevent accidents, be sure to answer the following questions.
Are They Sufficient?
Installing an incorrect number of anchor points can prove to be fatal. Call in the professionals so that they can assess the construction site and recommend the exact number of anchor points required.
What is the Weight Capacity?
Just how much weight capacity can the roof anchor point handle? Ideally it must be able to withstand at least 5000lb of force per person attached. The one you pick will depend on the number of people who’ll be working on the site.
Are Your Workers Trained to Use the System?
A roof anchor point is only effective if your workers know how to use it. Have you trained your workers regarding the use of roof anchor points? They must know how these anchor points are assembled, how they work and how many people can use them at any given time.
Your workers’ safety is your responsibility. Pick a roof anchor point and play your part as a responsible employer.