Living On The Edge: Your Guide To Edge Protection

Height is not for everyone. Some people enjoy being on high ground while others fear it.

Some jobs require working at heights. For some, working on the roof of a building or on multiple floors is a normal day in the office. With greater heights comes greater risks of injury and things falling.

It is important to cover all corners – literally. Without edge protection, everyone will be in danger.

What you should know about:

What is edge protection?

Edge protection is an important measure to prevent falling of people, materials, or tools. This includes:

  • Around the perimeters and elevated work areas
  • Around openings
  • Stopping access to brittle materials that cannot support a human safely

You need it
When working on surfaces above ground level or elevated surfaces.

All exposed roof edges, including skylights, openings, and other roof materials that are fragile, need to be protected. This includes the edges and openings of the floor, like balconies.

What is it?
Edge protection is available in many forms, including:

  • The system is proprietary:
    It must be installed by someone who is competent and has been trained in safe working methods.
    Install the product according to the instructions and specifications of its manufacturer
    Roof pitches less than 25° must be rated
    The roof pitch must be greater than 25 degrees. There should also be a barrier placed between the midrail and the bottom rail to stop anything falling.
  • Materials that can be used to create a physical barrier or guardrail
    Installed by a qualified person
  • Scaffolding supports a temporary edge protection system
    Installed by an accredited scaffolder or competent individual depending on the scaffold height.

Plan ahead
Failing to plan is like planning to fail. Edge protection is no exception.

Plan ahead and include building edge protection in your initial considerations and planning if you are aware that your site may require it at some point. Do not wait to design a plan until you are a few weeks away from your project.

Consider the risks, the impact on your team, the people who will be present and the public and how the equipment will be set up and removed.

Planning properly and thoroughly will reduce the chances of someone getting injured or damaging property while working at heights.

Installing it
As early as you can, get your edge protection in order on the job. You should have a timeline for edge protection.

Keep everyone in the loop. Keep your team, and any other contractors on site, informed of when the edge protection will be installed. Also let them know how long they’ll remain at the jobsite and when it’s scheduled to be removed.

Checking the integrity
It’s not worth having edge protection that doesn’t work. Edge protection should:

  • It should be erected, used and maintained according to its design information
  • Regularly inspected and maintained by a competent individual
  • After a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, or after observing unforeseen weather conditions, the building is inspected.
  • Before use, the product must be free of defects

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