What Are Edge Protection Systems?

Edge Protection Systems

Edge Protection Systems are used to prevent people from falling from building and construction edges, technological openings (stairways, lifts, etc), roofs and other passageways where there is a risk of falls. They are a collective solution typically consisting of Guardrails and Handrails.

These systems are very flexible and can be adapted to suit all sorts of site access areas. They are often seen on flat roofs, portal frame buildings commonly used for warehousing and the like, large civil engineering infrastructure worksites, residential buildings under construction or refurbishment as well as at building sites in general.

There are many different forms of this system, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The most common is the freestanding roof edge system. This can be erected around the entire roof perimeter and acts as a collective fall protection system for those working at height. This can also be erected as a guide rail for a specific area or piece of equipment to provide a safe working area.

Another form of this is the Collapsible Guardrail, which can fold completely flat and out of sight when not in use. This can be particularly useful if the site is in a heritage area such as a listed building, church or university building, where a visually sensitive solution is required.

What Are Edge Protection Systems?

Other forms include the Fixed Guardrail, which is a permanent solution to prevent people from falling from the top of a parapet wall or masonry face. This can be fixed into the coping stone of a parapet wall or secured to an existing handrail on the side of the wall. The height of the system can be adjusted by using an Allen key.

Ultimately, the choice of which form of this system to use is down to a risk assessment and a comprehensive Safe Work Method Statement. These should be developed by a competent person in consultation with those who will be operating the system, specifying how it is to be installed, dismantled and used and prescribing any exclusion zones.

All forms of temporary edge protection must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are fully functional. This includes the checking of the height of the guardrails and ensuring there is a clear distance of 470 mm between the bottom of the roof cladding or sheeting and the top of the temporary barrier. Any gaps which may have occurred should be filled immediately to avoid any unplanned events. In addition, harness-based restraint or fall arrest systems should only be used where the risk of a person falling over the edge has been assessed as being too high to reasonably eliminate through the use of barriers.

Edge protection systems are safety measures implemented to safeguard individuals working at heights or near exposed edges. These systems provide a physical barrier, preventing accidental falls and potential injuries. They are commonly used in construction, industrial, and maintenance settings. edge protection systems consist of various components such as guardrails, safety nets, toe boards, and personal protective equipment (PPE) like harnesses and lanyards. They are designed to comply with safety regulations and ensure a secure working environment. By minimizing the risk of falls, edge protection systems play a vital role in protecting workers and promoting occupational safety in high-risk areas.

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