Do you remember being a child and finding any excuse to climb up onto the roof? Reasons probably ranged from “accidentally” kicking the ball up there to simply daring the braver of your siblings to jump off like a bird.
Then, in reaching adulthood you realized why rooftop activities are so strictly prohibited; particularly on rooftops that are built at a slanted angle. Still, many of us still have to go up there to make a living, right?
The dangers that come with working on rooftops are vast enough to call for a safety device that can alleviate the risks.
Therefore, roof anchors are life savers — literally. But buying one isn’t as simple and standardized as you might think. Here are several important things to consider while making your roof anchor purchase.
What and Why
Approximately 26 people die as a result of rooftop work per year in Australia alone. Roof anchors are an important way of ensuring this number of fall fatalities gets lower over time.
A roof anchor point is a device that seeks to provide safety on even the most unstable of rooftops.
It is either a temporary or permanent device on top of a roof. It works in collaboration with other safety equipment namely a harness or body lanyard.
The intention is that the worker should be connected to the harness that is connected to the roof anchor. When fixed properly to the roof, the anchor can hold the weight of the worker should he or she find themselves headed over the edge.
Unfortunately not all roofing has the same ability to hold the same anchors. The roof material will play a big role in determining what kind of anchor can be attached to it. While you could essentially attach any old anchor to any old roof, there is no guarantee it will hold a human being up.
This is why choosing one is such a meticulous task and requires some investigation.
Roof anchor points come in the form of two systems:
Fall arrest system: This literally means that the system will “arrest” a man in mid air should he lose his footing and tumble over the edge. He will be suspended at earliest catch of the harness and will not be able to fall further.
Rope access system: This system is more for areas where workers need access to a certain height. Using a series of ropes and harnesses the workers will be able to hoist themselves up & down with ease.
Both of these types of roof anchor points have the ability to come in temporary or permanent fixtures.
When choosing the anchor point that is best for your workers’ needs, consider the following:
- What type of external forces will the anchor point be facing?
- What is the nature of the work being executed on the rooftop?
- Do you have your own lanyards? If yes, what kind of connection point do they require?
Since the overall goal of a roof anchor is human safety it’s absolutely necessary to ensure the point you pick is suited to your workers’ needs or your own when purchasing for personal use.
How to Select
Anchor point devices should meet a number of industry standard safety requirements.
Your roof anchor supplier should be able to show documentation of their regulated safety clearances. A good supplier will even take the time to inspect your intended premises in order to determine the best anchor point to proceed with.
There are a few things that all industry professionals will tell those who are in the market for a roof anchor:
- All anchor bolts should be inspected by a professional after being installed
- Any wood based anchors need to be engineer-certified
- A steel member is highly recommended
- Load-bearing ability should be tested prior to attaching a human in a harness
- Lanyard and harnesses should be regularly replaced to avoid weakening over time
Aside from these four critical bits of information it is recommended above all the quality be your main focus.
Ensure that the anchor point manufacturer adheres to all industry standards and that their reputation of service is clean. It isn’t a bad idea to ask for client referrals and to chat directly with client who have been satisfied by them in the past.
Customer service is important when it comes to roof anchors not only for safe, reliable installation but also for future maintenance of the anchor point.
If your chosen roof anchor will be permanent it will likely require regular inspection and upkeep as the years go by. Weather conditions and wear-and-tear can affect the quality of your anchor & make it a risk over time, so maintenance is essential.
With proper upkeep and inspection, it can be a point of safe harness for the rooftop in question for as long as the roof remains in use.
Hoist Me Up
Since a roof anchor point can quite literally mean the difference between life or death there really are no corners to cut when purchasing one.
Years of practice, observation and improvement have brought us to an industry regulated point of sale in the roof anchor market. With proper installation and upkeep there’s no reason to ever think twice while navigating your way around a rooftop.
Make a point of choosing only the best and you can make your childhood dreams come true. Safely.