Your Edge Protection Questions – Part Three

By Jason Godfrey, General Manager, Safesite Limited

This week I’m concluding my look at some of your common questions relating to guardrails, if I haven’t answered your query, don’t worry, I will be emailing everyone with answers to their specific question over the coming days.


Can you paint guardrail in different colours or give it different finishes?

Yes, virtually any colour you like. The vast majority of guardrails in the UK including roof top edge protection guardrails are assembled using fittings such as Kee Klamp® style modular fittings and tube. Kee Klamp® fittings and tube are supplied with a hot dip galvanised finish to BS EN ISO 1461. For a particularly aesthetically pleasing finish, we would recommend powder coating the fittings and tube to any RAL colour of your choice. You can apply a traditional metal primer and paint to the galvanised guardrail, but we would recommend seeking advice from the paint manufacturer on the type of application and compatibility.


How do you get edge protection to the top a roof safely?

Most roof top guardrails are made from modular fittings, rubber or steel weights, baseplates and tube. The components are delivered to site unassembled and loose with each one weighing less than 13kg.   Manual handling needs to be considered when carrying out a risks assessment for the work so that you can establish the safest way to transport the components to the roof.  For example, we would recommend using tube no longer than 3m in length, making handling safer and easier than standard 6m lengths. For the vast majority of installations we would use either a mobile construction crane or mobile goods hoist to lift the material to roof level. For small roof areas with internal access lifts or stairs you could use handling aids to carry the equipment to roof level.


Safe handling of guardrail


When would you choose a line system over guardrail?

Guardrail is generally classified as a non-user participant collective control method, whereas Lifelines are considered as a user participant personal control method. If we follow the hierarchy of controls from the Work at Height Regulations and various HSE guidance we should first and foremost try to change the process and engineer out the hazards. If process change is not possible then we should try to use collective control measures such as guardrail rather than personal controls such as lifelines In certain applications such as some crane gantry access situations, a fixed lifeline system could offer a more practical access solution than fixed guardrail.  Often in applications where lifelines are specified as the control method rather than guardrail, cost and aesthetics have played their part in the decision process.

Lifeines or guardrails


What safety standards should I look for when purchasing guardrail?

In order to take into consideration wind loadings, variable roof pitch levels and wet conditions, roof top guardrails are normally tested to meet the test requirements of EN13375. Ground based guardrails on the other hand tend to adhere to the test requirements of EN 14122-3 Safety of machinery, Permanent means of access to machinery, stairways, stepladders and guardrails.

Other standards specified depending on application are The Building Regulations Part K 2013, BS 6399 Part 1 Loading for Building 1996, BS 6399 Part 2 Code of Practice for Wind Loading 1997 and the Construction Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1996.


Your Questions

I hope that you have found this Q&A series on guardrails and edge protection useful. If you have any questions relating to work at height and what systems you should use, please feel free to contact us on Tel: 01293 529977 or email [email protected]

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