Roof guardrails are the preferred method of fall protection when working at heights cannot be avoided, providing collective protection for everyone who has to access a roof. There are many standards relating to both temporary and permanent roof edge protection around the globe. These standards often cause confusion when individuals are trying to specify a guardrail product as many require different load and testing criteria and there is a need of interpreting the Standards to establish if a product is fit for use.
To enable to asset that a guardrail used as a fall protection system is fit for purpose, Kee Safety has prepared a short overview of legal requirements for permanent and temporary edge protection in the UK and Europe. The guide to legal requirements is available on our website, in the Compliance section.
In summary, when using guardrails in a permanent application (UK & Europe 1100mm high) it may be appropriate to adopt the loading criteria of EN 13374 in relation to the frequency of access and controls in place. A suitably and sufficient risk assessment needs to be completed in order to determine the product is fit for use.
It may not be necessary to use toe-boards or apply the 470mm gap between principal/intermediate guardrails dependent upon the risk assessment. In many instances where a permanent guardrail is required the loadings suggested within EN 13374 may be appropriate as the roof structure may not be able to cope with the higher loadings suggested in the Building Regulations or other standards relating to permanent systems.
It’s important the manufacturer provides test reports both internal and in some cases external, provides analysis to demonstrate the given system is suitable for the intended use including the roof pitch, membrane, both wet and dry, performance and whether or not the system was tested with or without an upstand.