Fall Protection Systems

Horizonal and Vertical Lifelines

It is generally accepted that the starting point when considering all work at height should be the hierarchy of control. Once it’s determined that working at height is essential, the next step is to ensure workers are not exposed to unnecessary risk and that suitable and sufficient means for protection from falls from height are in place such as a fall protection system. 

Initial solutions to eliminate the risk of falling (and promote rooftop safety) could include collective systems, for example guardrails, however if a fixed guard is not possible the next step is to choose the right fall protection system to minimise the consequences of a fall.

This can be achieved with a fall restraint or if necessary, a fall arrest system – these being two completely different designs. A fall restraint system should always be considered first as it is designed to prevent a person from falling, a fall arrest system only reduces the consequences of a fall and will require a rescue plan to be in place.

When choosing the right fall protection system there are a few things to consider:

  • The frequency of use of the system
  • The amount of time workers will spend attached to the system
  • The number of workers likely to use the system at any time
  • Where the exit and entry points need to be
  • The tasks that need to be carried out.

Arco Professional Safety Services can design, install and certify wire based or rail based fall protection systems in accordance with BS7883: 2019 Personal Fall Protection Equipment – Anchor Systems – System Design, Installation and Inspection – Code of Practice.

See below for more information on each of these options:

Wire Based System

Wire based systems typically use 8 mm diameter stainless steel cable, which provides excellent resistance to corrosion and wear. In a normal environment the cable is expected to remain safely useable for up to 20 years provided it is regularly inspected and maintained.

The inherent flexibility of a cable-based system allows it to flow around corners, deviations and up and down gradients. Arco Professional Safety Services can design and install a wire based fall protection system that suits your needs perfectly.

Bespoke posts can also be designed in house by our fall protection team to allow systems to be installed in a variety of applications, for example green roofs, and we have installed systems on a wide variety of roofs including on listed and historic buildings where minimising visual impact is a priority.

Top fixed energy absorbing posts are specifically designed to be fitted where access to the underside of the roof finish is inaccessible and where the roof sheet build does not have the strength to sustain the full impact force of a fall. Posts are available for a wide variety of trapezoidal and standing seam roof types.

MSA Latchways are an industry leading brand in wire based systems. For more information on these systems, click here.  

roof safety systems

Rail Based System

A rail based system allows for rail sections to be mounted overhead, at waist or foot level dependent on application and can be used for suspended access using ropes, positive restraint and fall arrest by multiple persons. Rail systems benefit from distributing loads simultaneously to a number of connections which make them good choices for internal roof structures, they also do not deflect when loaded which is an advantage when the fall distance is limited.

A variety of fixing options means that fitment to masonry, concrete, steel, beams, rails and girders is possible. Rail systems generally utilise carriages that connect and move along the rail when in use. 

roof safety systems

 Workers required to access flat roofs in protected and unprotected areas should undertake training. Click here to find out more about our rooftop safety and access course.  


Installation, Testing and Certification

It is a legislative requirement that fall protection systems are inspected and certified a minimum of once every twelve months, by a suitably qualified person. Where a system is used to provide an anchorage for lifting or lowering a person it comes under the LOLER regulations and the inspection regime of these regulations will apply. Please contact our certifications team for further details. As experts in fall protection solutions, we offer a full design service, installation of the product and can provide ongoing annual inspection and certification for wire and rail based systems. 

Click here to find out more about our testing and certification offer.

For more information about our fall protection systems please contact our experts on 0330 390 0822 or email info@arcoservices.co.uk.

More about our fall protection services: