If you think about fall protection, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably a harness. The harness is normally connected to a roof anchor point. It’s most commonly found on construction sites, or where repairs are being done.
A harness is a piece of safety equipment. The law requires that workers need to have a fall protection system in place if they work on a level higher than the ground. This requirement means that painters, workmen doing repairs and even a chimney sweep, all require roof anchor point installation before working on the roof. Roof anchor points are easy to install, but what do you do if you have a sloping roof?
Contrary to popular belief, the anchor point doesn’t need to be installed directly above the work area. When faced with a sloping roof, the popular option is using a throwing line. A rope can be pulled over the roof to create a roof anchor point on the other side of the roof. The safety hook can then be attached to secure the rope to the anchor point.
Roof anchor points need to be able to hold a force of 10kN for at least 3 minutes to be considered safe.
A sling is a type of polyamide strap that needs to be attached to a secure point on the opposite side of the work area. The safety hook is located at the end of the rope and is connected to the sling.
Examples of excellent secure points are:
- The towing eye of a van
- A very strong living tree
- A column or spiral staircase located inside the house
For added safety, there should be a worker watching over the anchor point at all times. They should be trained to know what to do if an accident occurs.
Never use the following:
- A window frame
- The wheel of a car
- A lamppost
Using a sling is the safest option, but if there isn’t a strong tree available, thankfully there is another option.
Jamb anchors were specifically designed to be mounted in a doorframe or window frame. These components are made up of tubes with a safety eye, and two sets of clamps. The clamps can be adjusted to different widths. The rope runs across the roof and is attached to the safety eye with a safety hook.
Find a secure doorway either at the back or front of the house. If there isn’t one available, then an inner door can be used. The door that you select must be in a supporting wall.
If none of the other options will be sufficient, then a fixed anchor point will need to be installed. A drill can be used to anchor the point into the wall. There are numerous fixed anchor points available for different types of surfaces, with different methods relevant to concrete, steel or bricks.
In the case of a sloping roof, the anchor point should be installed near the centre of the roof. The fixed anchor point can be removed once the work has been completed.
Heavy rains and strong winds put a lot of stress on the structure of a house. Fixed anchor points or other protective materials can be ripped off the roof. Debris can damage the roofing material, and there may be holes in the roofing structure. This could make for a very dangerous situation, especially if the problem isn’t noticed for months.
After a storm, it’s very important to check your roof for any damages. If any damage is found, they should be repaired immediately. Before any work is carried out, the fall protection system will need to be inspected. It’s best to contact the manufacturer to ensure that everything is in proper working order.
The roof may be very slippery after heavy rainfall, so be very careful when climbing up to do the inspection. Clear any debris off the roof that could cause you to trip, or could be hiding a hole. Check for any damage to the roof structure.
Be extremely careful around skylights, since most of them aren’t strong enough to carry the weight of a person. You could fall through if you aren’t careful.
Be extra vigilant in areas where the water pools. Stagnant water is awfully slippery and could be hazardous. Inspect any trees that are close to the roof. Look for loose branches that may cause additional damage, if they fall.
Safety should always be your top priority when carrying out work on a roof. There are safety options for each type of roof. Take note of the surface the anchor point will be attached to, so you can find the most suitable option.
There are three main types of fall protection equipment that can be used on a sloping roof. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of which option will be the most suitable solution for your needs.