Since the 2017 announcement of a review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard, AS/NZS 5532, there has been significant confusion about the relevance of this Standard, which relates to single point anchors.

On 18th September 2019, the Working At Height Association (WAHA) issued a Compliance Statement confirming that single point anchor devices must comply with AS/NZS 5532 for "performance requirements, test methods, marking, labelling and packaging as specified within this Standard".

This announcement is welcome news, not only for the height safety industry, but ultimately for the end user as well, because it will ensure that the anchors that are installed are compliant and guaranteed to perform in the event of a fall.

Adherence to AS/NZS 5532 guarantees that the manufacturer and installer of single point anchors have a set testing and installation criteria and are accountable for ensuring these requirements are met.

WAHA's Compliance Statement stipulates that "to ensure the rating of the anchor is suitable to perform in its installed state, testing of the anchor must be done on the substrate/ structure that it is intended to be fixed to".

SAYFA single point anchors have passed the tests set out in AS/NZS 5532, all of which have been conducted on the relevant substrate/ roof decks.

What are the requirements of AS/NZS 5532?

Sayfa Group technical manager, Murray Voss goes through the requirements of AS/NZS 5532 including testing, structures, loads and ratings.

Anchor Testing

Every single point anchor must have these four tests conducted with both the anchor and the structure performing satisfactorily before they can claim to conform to the AS/NZS 5532 Standard.

Test 1: Dynamic load in-line with the roof sheet - 15kN

This test requires a 100kg mass to be dropped 2 metres off the anchor while it is installed on the substrate/ roof deck that it is intended to be installed on. The test is performed in-line with the deck.

Test 2: Static load in-line with the roof sheet - 15kN

A load of 1,530kg (15kN) is held by the anchor for a period of 3 minutes. Once again the anchor must be installed onto the relevant substrate/ roof deck.

Test 3: Dynamic load across the roof sheet - 15kN

This third test is the same as Test 1; however instead of the anchor being loaded in-line with the substrate/ roof deck, it is turned 90 degrees to be loaded across.

Test 4: Static load across the roof sheet - 15kN

The fourth test is the same as Test 2 but is performed with the anchor being loaded across the substrate/ roof deck.

All of Sayfa's single point anchors have been tested and comply with the four test requirements of AS/NZS 5532. 

Structural Testing 

With regard to structural requirements to ensure compliance to AS/NZS 5532, WAHA states, "Due to the varying performance of roofing types, it therefore follows that testing must be performed on each type of roof substrate. Detailed installation instructions shall be provided by the manufacturer with the anchor device, showing the specific installation requirements for each roof substrate; e.g. additional fixings may be required to ensure the substrate can withstand the load rating."

It is very important that the anchor is tested on the substrate/ roof deck that it is intended to be installed on – this is because some anchors may be able to withstand higher loads if, during testing, they are mounted on a surface that is stronger than a roof sheet, thereby, giving a false indication of how they would perform when installed.

For example, clip fix roof decks are only clipped down to the roof structure and not physically fixed into the purlins. In the event of a force being applied to an anchor installed on this type of substrate, are you confident it will be able to withstand the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes (15kN)? In some cases this could cause the sheets to slide off or unclip (delaminate). In most instances on clip fix roof decks, SAYFA recommends that the anchor should be screwed through the roof sheet into the purlin to ensure this does not occur.

Another very important factor to consider is that some clip fix roofs sheets do not have a full lap where the anchor is fixed meaning that the rivet may not have gone through two thickness of roof sheet. When under significant tension, such as a person falling, this again could cause the roof sheet to unclip.

According to WAHA's Compliance Statement, "The manufacturer must be able to provide evidence of the testing of the anchor on the fixed substrate, not just of the anchor itself."

Whether you are a manufacturer, installer, building owner/manager or user, the requirement of anchors to meet AS/NZS 5532 is something you must be aware of; it is vital to ensure that systems are compliant so they perform as intended.

Ask the right questions:

Has the anchor passed a 15kN dynamic load test in-line with the roof sheet?

Has the anchor passed a 15kN static load test in-line with the roof sheet?

Has the anchor passed a 15kN dynamic load test across the roof sheet?

Has the anchor passed a 15kN static load test across the roof sheet?

Has the anchor been tested on the type of roof structure where it will be installed?

Has the anchor been tested and certified that it can be used to perform a rescue AFTER it has been deployed in a fall arrest situation?

Next time when you are specifying or installing anchor points, think carefully. Are you sure that both the anchor and the structure are able to sustain a load of 1.5 tonnes? The ability to handle this huge load can be the difference between life and death.