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Flat roof fall protection

Flat roof fall protection is part of occupational safety, which is subject to legal requirements and can be implemented in many different ways. What is behind it and what is important to know, we will clarify that here.

Firefighters, maintenance workers or the construction industry, plumbers or roofers often work in areas on a roof where the risk of falling is particularly high. It is precisely in these areas that devices are attached to either prevent or intercept a fall. This significantly increases work safety.

Flat roof fall protection is usually a variety of forms of protection that are either attached as railings in front of the dangerous areas or individual safety systems that are carried by the people themselves and that are connected to the flat roof.

Flat roof fall protection systems are divided into these two groups. The primary fall protection, such as railings, and the secondary fall protection, such as individual personal protection systems.

There are guidelines that stipulate the height from which a flat roof protection is attached. It is important to consider the various areas and factors. The legal requirements also depend on the local conditions.

  • Work that takes place on a flat roof above or near the water must always be carried out with a flat roof fall protection device. The height does not play a role in this work. Other liquid substances in which one can sink are also subject to these requirements.
  • If work is carried out on an open staircase or other wall openings, fall protection must be used from a height of 1 meter.
  • For all other work in traffic routes on roofs, the height of 3 meters applies, from this height a flat roof fall protection must be used. This rule applies to most work on flat roofs.
  • Fall protection must be used for all other work from a height of 2 meters.

Various systems are available for flat roof fall protection. As a rule, which type of security is appropriate depends on the nature of the roof and the type of work. In general, the various flat roof fall protection systems can be distinguished as follows:

  • Attachment points and anchors

These are permanently installed brackets into which a safety rope can be latched. This means that the worker is secured and can be secured in the event of a fall. In this variant, however, the mobility of the work is geared towards the attachment points. The whole roof can be covered and several people can work at the same time.

  • Rope systems

With this variant, a rope system is installed over the roof, the workers can hang themselves with the individual safety belts and are thus secured. Depending on how the cable system is attached, this can also take place overhead, which also enables horizontal work.

  • Terrain systems

Railings are best suited to safeguard the edges of the falls, as they are intended to prevent people from approaching the dangerous areas.

Retrofitting of flat roof fall protection devices is always possible. How great the effort is depends on the circumstances and the condition of the flat roof.

In general, fall protection must be available regardless of the height if:

  • Work on and above the water takes place.
  • Work on and over other liquid substances take place.

In addition, the regulations prescribe height information such as:

  • At wall openings or open stairwells, from a height of 1 meter.
  • In all other areas from a working height of 2 meters.

As already mentioned, the height regulations are not stipulated, but can also be influenced by other factors. Factors that can affect the need for fall protection include:

  • the difference in altitude
  • the distance to the edge of the fall
  • the nature of the subsurface
  • how many people should be protected
  • the ground below the edge of the fall