Scenario One

You have been engaged by your client to design a roof access and fall protection system. You specify roof anchors based on their flexibility, cost benefits and ease of installation. Months after the anchors you specified have been installed, you are contacted by your client with the complaint that any routine work on the roof has not been possible because incorrect anchors were selected and installed. Your client is threatening legal action and the whole system must be redesigned.

Scenario Two

As an installer of height safety equipment, you get a request for quote from a client for recertification of their existing fall protection systems. After assessing the area and determining the application, you realise that some of the anchors installed are incorrect for their intended use. Explanations about the safety flaws in the system design fall on deaf ears and your client either goes to another installer who is not suggesting redesign or decides to retain the same system – both options having potentially serious consequences.

Scenario Three

As a building owner or manager, you have engaged contractors to conduct some basic maintenance work, perhaps facade maintenance, which will need them to access the roof. You have checked and can confidently state that there are anchors installed on the roof. However, on inspection the contractor alerts you that the existing anchors cannot be used as they are not correct for the application. Though you don’t know why your anchors are unsuitable, you cannot risk a potential incident, and therefore, are forced to stop all works on your building so that you can carry out rectification, possibly involving costly system redesign before any work can be resumed.

Scenario Four

You have been contracted by a building owner to carry out window cleaning on their building. You have been assured that there are roof anchors in place. But when you climb up to the roof, you realise incorrect anchors have been installed for the job, forcing you to stop further work. You end up with a frustrated client who is unable to understand why you won’t carry out the work though he has anchors on his roof.

Have you been in any of these scenarios?

When designing a roof access and fall protection system, it’s critical to make the right anchor selection based on various considerations:

  • Fall prevention: Removes the risk of the worker falling by providing a barrier between them and the fall hazard.
  • Fall restraint: Restricts the movement of the worker in reaching the fall edge.
  • Fall arrest: Arrests the fall of the worker once it has occurred.
  • Rope access: A method of enabling work to be carried out on atriums, facades or exterior areas at height using a rope abseil system.
  • Static load: A constant load or force that is sustained with little to no drastic weight changes or movements such as when an operator is abseiling.
  • Dynamic load: A load that results when a sharp or sudden movement occurs, such as when a worker may unexpectedly fall and come to an abrupt stop. A dynamic load is a significantly higher load than a static load.

As fall arrest and rope access anchors are subjected to different types of loads, they must be tested and rated accordingly. But how do you determine what needs to be in place, particularly if you are not in the industry?

This whitepaper "Understanding anchor selection and why it matters" from Sayfa Group explains the different types of anchors and what you need to know so that you do not have to deal with any of the scenarios above.