Passive Fall Protection Systems
Passive vs. Active Fall Protection:
When a hazard assessment is completed and a need for fall protection is established, there are two general types of systems that can solve the need and keep the workers safe. The first, and generally accepted as the preferred method, is a Passive Fall Protection System. A “passive” fall protection system refers to a system that is non-dynamic, stationary, and does not move or adapt or change when in or out of use. They do not require the use of Personal Protective Equipment or active participation from the worker. Typical passive solutions include Guardrails or Netting Systems.
When a Passive Solution is not practical for the application, an Active Fall Protection System is the next best solution. These systems are dynamic and require the use of special equipment and participation by the worker. There are two types of Active Fall Protection Systems, fall restraint and fall arrest systems. All of these systems share the common feature of securing the worker wearing a full body harness to an anchorage point with some type of connecting system, depending on the application.
Active Fall Protection Systems include Fall Arrest Anchors, Roof Anchors, and Safety Harness'.
In the hierarchy of Fall Protection Systems, the best practices are generally accepted as follows:
- Eliminate the hazard if possible.
- Engineering Controls – Install an engineering control such as a Guardrail that meets the OH&S requirements.
- If the use of a Guardrail is not reasonably practicable, workers must use a fall restraint system that meets the OH&S requirements.
- If the use or a Fall Restraint System is not reasonable practicable, workers must use a Fall Arrest System that meets the OH&S requirements.
RoofGuard systems have been designed and engineered to answer number two in the hierarchy outlined above. Within this category we identified a need for a type of free-standing system which could be installed on roof tops where engineering controls were not addressed at the time of design and construction of the building. In many cases the buildings were built before our OH&S requirements identified this need or were simply overlooked. Typical hazards are skylights, open hatches and mechanical equipment that requires regular service and are located too close the roof edge. The need for a design that would not penetrate the roof material was identified and the industry responded with several different designs and methods to address this need.
We did not invent this type of system.
We took what we learned from other systems we had worked with and refined the design to respond to industry needs.
Our systems revolve around a unique, stackable, low profile 40lb baseplate. This design took into account all of the aspects required from manufacture to transport to storage to installation ergonomics to use. Our goal is to keep it simple. One tool is required for any installation.
We began with one design, now known as RoofGuard Classic System, which utilizes aluminum pipe, and cast aluminum fittings. The Rooftop Guardrail System can be adapted to virtually any application. As the RoofGuard Classic System evolved, we identified several applications that were common and developed a line of rooftop guardrail kits to meet this need. Several configurations are available packed in crates for immediate shipment to our distributors. Each kit contains simple instructions, drawings and the single tool needed to assemble.
In response to Customer needs we have also developed RoofWalk free standing walkways, RoofStep free standing ladders and stepovers, HatchGuard and HatchBar systems for access hatches and are continually developing safe, practical ways to meet customer needs.
We have also added our economical RoofGuard X-Press line. This is made up of pre-fabricated powder coated steel sections designed to be installed quickly and simply. RoofGuard X-Press utilizes the same baseplates and tool as the rest of our products.
We also developed a portable fall restraint anchor in response to a need to keep workers safe when installing RoofGuard Systems. It utilizes stacks of baseplates coupled with a D-ring plate and can be quickly and easily installed and moved.
We are continually looking for and developing new and innovative methods to provide Passive Fall Prevention Solutions in order to keep workers safe.
Additional Rooftop Safety Resources