What’s the riskiest work environment today? Well, apart from working in zero gravity in outer space, or working as a Marine in Afghanistan or Iraq, roof work is also hailed as one of the riskiest work environments. According to recent occupational health surveys, more than 50% of falls are from ladders and roofs, and the cost of these falls is estimated to run in the hundreds of millions worldwide, which is nothing to the human cost as a result of these falls. Most falls happen on residential buildings, 20% of which were over 3 meters in height. Read on to learn why a roof safety mesh is a must when working on roofs.
What’s a Roof Safety Net?
Most, if not all nations in the developed world, put a greater premium on workplace safety, and preventing falls from roofs is a top priority for most employers and contractors. So, to lessen the cases of workers falling from roofs and injuring (or killing) themselves in the process, occupational health and safety regulators mandated contractors and building owners to utilize a handful of safety devices, among which includes a roof safety mesh.
Roof safety nets and meshes are designed to stretch, or progressively deflect and absorb the energy or impact of a fall, so a person who falls from the roof is less likely to get injured or die; the greater (or the higher) the fall height, the greater the impact. This means that the safety net or mesh’ deflection should be greater too.
The design and construction of the roof safety mesh must also be able to adequately deflect, or deform, and absorb all the energy from the impact of the fall, up to the maximum fall height for the design. In addition, there should also be adequate clear distance below the net, so that the one who falls doesn’t hit any obstacles (or doesn’t hit the ground) while the net deflects the fall.
Roof Safety Nets Should be Used in Tandem With Other Protective Tools
A roof safety net should not just be the only safety equipment utilized when working on roofs. In fact, it should be used in tandem with other appropriate safety tools and gear such as fall-arrest systems, guard rails and other edge protection systems
But if properly secured, a roof safety mesh can help ease the tension when working in such high places like roofs. The construction and design of these types of safety equipment must also fully comply with all industry and government guidelines.
For example, In New Zealand, the safety mesh for the roof must be formed from 2 mm diameter wire of not less than 4500 Mpa tensile strength. Oh by the way, tensile strength refers to the measurement of force required to pull something such as a wire, rope or a structural beam to the point where it breaks. Thus, a material’s tensile strength is the maximum amount of stress that it can handle or take before breaking.
When installing roof safety nets or meshes, particular care is needed to make sure that the mesh is securely fastened or connected to the structure, and the overlap between adjoining sections of mesh is enough to create the required strength to resist the force of an individual who falls into it.