How to choose the best roof safety system for your commercial building
Woodstock Roofing - Expert roofing operating in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire 01608 644 644

Last Edited: 11/Jan/2017

A roof safety system is essential for any premises that require plant maintenance or roof access. However, choosing which type you need can be a confusing decision to make. There are three main options: safety lines, fixed top rail, and freestanding rail. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, so it's worth considering all of them when choosing your roof safety system.

Working at height regulations

You need to make sure that any roof safety system you choose to use adheres to all working at height health and safety regulations. This means that anyone accessing your premises' rooftop must either be connected to a safety line at all times, or a permanent barrier must be in place around all accessible areas of the roof.

Remember: this includes access ladders! You'll need to keep in mind that your vertical access points have the required caging to protect against falls.

Safety line roof safety systems

Made up of a steel cable that runs around the accessible areas of a rooftop, any engineer or maintenance person is required to clip on at the start point with a personal safety harness and slide around to the required point. 

This system is often the cheapest option, but it does require human interaction - which means someone could choose to not clip onto the system, leaving them at risk. It also restricts where an engineer can go, as he must remain clipped into his harness and attached to the rail at all times.

Fixed rail roof barrier systems

A permanent rail that fixes to your rooftop is the strongest option against weathering, high winds, and can withstand much greater weight pressure. The rail is fixed to either the side of a parapet or directly down into the roof with a screw system.

The downside of a fixed rail system is that it does put greater structural pressure on a rooftop than a safety cable system or a freestanding rail. It is, however, the most suitable option for corrugated metal roofing as the plates which screw the rail down can be extended to cover the dips, which cannot be done on a freestanding rail system.

Freestanding roof safety rail

Finally, a freestanding system is more expensive but provides greater flexibility, less structural pressure, and means anyone accessing the roof will be protected while working at height (without requiring them to clip into a harness). 

Freestanding rails can be combined with a fixed top rail system for ultimate safety, or with a cable system for flexibility. The rails are weighted with very heavy counterweights and can be placed on any flat roof surface including weatherproof membranes. 

Get more advice for your roof safety system

A good UK roofing company, whether providing safety systems direct or in conjunction with reliable partners, will be able to help you assess the right design for your commercial premises. Whether you require frequent access for plant maintenance or are experiencing problems fixing a flat roof on your business premises, an experienced company can help you find the right solution for your budget.