What is Roof Edge Protection?

Roof Edge Protection is a system that forms a physical barrier. Brackets, posts and rails are the main components of the system. Roof edge protection equipment is generally made from steel, aluminium or timber. Edge protection is required where there is a risk of a person or materials falling.
It is a safety system installed around a roof’s perimeter to prevent falls from height. It is a system that forms a physical barrier
Edge protection has become a legal requirement because the number one cause of death on Australian construction sites is falling.

Most common causes of injuries on construction sites

The primary purpose of this system is to prevent falls, which are one of the most common causes of accidents and injuries on construction sites.
Height falls can result in serious injuries or even fatalities and can have devastating consequences for workers and their families.
Edge protection systems are designed to comply with health and safety regulations and are subject to rigorous testing and certification.
The most severe and fatal accidents occur falling under 4m. Physical barriers such as temporary systems are the leading countermeasure for prohibiting accidents when working from heights.
Australian Scaffolds have designed various brackets to adapt to multiple applications that protect workers from falling from height.

Types of roof edge protection systems

Roof Edge Protection Systems are typically made from high-quality materials, such as steel or aluminium; the systems are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures.
Usually in construction or industrial settings. Here are some common types of edge protection:
  1. Guardrails are made of metal or other materials used to create a barrier around an edge, preventing people from accidentally walking or falling off the edge.
  2. Toe boards are small barriers placed at the bottom of a guardrail to prevent objects from falling off the edge.
  3. Safety nets: These are nets hung below a work area to catch falling objects or protect workers in the event of a fall.
  4. Safety harnesses: These are personal protective equipment worn by workers and attached to a safety line that is anchored to a secure point, preventing falls from heights.
  5. Mobile safety platforms: These are platforms that can be moved around a work area, providing a safe working surface and protecting workers from falls.

Many other types of edge protection may be used depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the job site.

Types of Edge Protection Brackets

Why use roof edge protection?

Using roof edge protection in Australia is important for several reasons:
  1. Safety: the primary reason is to ensure the safety of workers working at height, and edge protection helps prevent incidents.
  2. Compliance: In Australia, strict workplace health and safety laws require employers to provide a safe work environment for their employees. otherwise, it results in fines and legal action.
  3. Reputation: Employers who prioritize safety and comply with health and safety regulations are viewed more favourably by employees and the general public.
  4. Cost-effectiveness: It can save money in the long term by preventing accidents, expensive medical bills, lost productivity, and legal fees.

It is important to ensure your system complies with health and safety regulations and standards and that professionals install and maintain it.

Investing in edge protection can help create a safe and secure environment and prevent accidents and injuries on-site.

Selecting a Suitable Roof Edge Protection System

When choosing whether a particular temporary system is suitable, you should ensure: 

  • Designed, manufactured and tested per AS/NZS 4994.1
  • You must have correctly provided instructions for using the system.
  • Instructions should include safe installation/dismantling.
  • Suitable configurations, acceptable roof types, and system limitations.
  • The site can accommodate the safe erection and disassemble of the system, e.g.
  • Is the system suitable for the roof-supporting structure?
  • Will it maintain the system’s designed integrity and strength? Consult with competent persons if unsure.
  • Does the system follow the roof’s profile?
  • Will it ensure no gaps which a person could fall through?
  • Can workers safely access and exit from the roof without stepping over or through the guardrail system?

Note: Scaffolding may be used as a temporary system – if the scaffold complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 4994.2 Temporary edge Protection, Part 2: Roof edge protection- Installation and dismantling.

Before installation/dismantling

Before the erection or dismantling of the temporary Roof Edge Protection System, make sure:

  • A competent person develops a method for installing and dismantling in consultation with all relevant parties. The method should describe the tasks and work sequence to protect users from falls. The methodology should also define any exclusions zones and provide a layout plan. Methodology that requires work above 2m in height should be documented in a site-specific Safe Work Method Statement.
  • Confirm the location and voltage of overhead powerlines before the commencement of work. Maintain safe distances and ensure controls are in place as per the Safeworks Code of Practice for work near overhead powerlines.
  • Workers receive the necessary instruction, training, and supervision before installing and dismantling the edge protection system.

Installation/dismantling of Roof Edge Protection

Only persons with the required knowledge, skills, training, correct equipment, the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the developed methodology should install or dismantle the edge protection system. Temporary edge protection systems should include:

  • Top, mid and bottom rails or toe-boards with gaps not exceeding 450 mm. Check impact loads of toe-boards if used in place of bottom rails.
  • Toeboards or mesh infills that prohibit tools, materials or debris from falling unless exclusion zones exist.
  • Ensure no space between the roof edge and guttering – position guardrails 100mm beyond the roofline.
  • A distance of not less than 150mm and not greater than 275mm between the roof cladding.

Do you need Edge Protection in your city? 

Other questions you might have: 

Need Edge Protection Equipment?

Australian Scaffolds is available day and night, seven days a week. Our expert team of scaffolders has decades of experience. We strive to make complex-simple. To find out more, call 1300 919 905. Or email Daniel at daniel.butlin@australianscaffolds.com.au

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