What Are the Different Types of Height Safety Equipment
Height safety equipment can be confusing because lots of industries use the various terms interchangeably. This can make it particularly difficult to know which type is best for your circumstances.
This guide explains how each of the four main types of height safety equipment work and where they’re most applicable. This is essential because, with your worker’s lives on the line, you won’t want to make ill-informed decisions.
Height Wire Systems
Generally used for flat and pitched roofs, height wire systems are typically the height safety equipment of choice if planning considerations necessitate an invisible fall protection system.
Depending on the roof type, they can be installed with a ‘top fix’ anchor to the top of the roof or a ‘through fix’ anchor that attaches the harness to the structure of the building itself. However, regardless of which fixing is used, the worker will be safely secured to the building and this system won’t be visible from below.
Safety Line Systems
Contrary to height wire systems, safety lines are permanent fixtures that are attached inside a building. A wire is suspended across a height so that if a worker should fall, they’ll dangle safely in the air, much like a zipline. This is usually the choice of height safety systems in workspaces where workers are regularly at a height and need more mobility, such as inside large industrial buildings and warehouses.
Harness Anchor Points
Where both height wire and safety line systems are designed for workers who need a large amount of mobility, harness anchor points are more of a stationary option. They allow a worker to attach themselves to a fixed position with more restricted movement. For example, they’re often used on tall pylons and cranes rather than large open spaces because workers will require less lateral movement.
Fall Arrest Systems
This is where terms often become confused. The fall arrest system is the mechanism that attaches the anchor point or the safety line to the worker’s harness. It usually consists of an extremely tough wire in a plastic or metal casing which extends if a worker falls. At one end, it’s attached to the harness via a secure karabiner (usually screwed or double-release) and at the other, it’s secured, sometimes permanently, to the anchor point or safety line.
To recap, a fall arrest system connects a worker’s harness to either:
● A harness anchor point if the worker is working at a height with restricted mobility
● A safety line system that is suspended across open spaces
● A height wire system if they are working on a roof.
Understanding these differences is crucial because this will potentially avoid fatalities in the workplace and your workers will feel much more comfortable in their work.
At Crane and Lifting Services, we can install, test and maintain your height safety equipment to give you and your workers peace of mind. If you have any further questions about height safety equipment, or if you’d like to know about any of our other services like hoist and jib crane hire and repair or overhead gantry crane training, then don’t hesitate to get in touch!