Height work safety with a safety net
The height worker has several safety measures at his disposal. Height work regulations state the worker must ensure one or more of the following measures while working:
- Fences and railings – standard fences and railings prevent workers from falling (along with equipment and other accessories) off the high surface they are working on.
- Height work securement systems – when using securement systems, the height worker is secured by a fall protection or a fall arrest system while working.
- Safety net for height work
What is a safety net for height work?
A safety net is a net, designed to stop workers from falling off heights, that is installed under or around a structure or facility while the height work is performed above it.
The safety nets has 2 main advantages –
The net has the ability to protect the height worker, to stop him from falling (similar to a trapeze artist falling onto a net), as well as protecting any workers or passersby under the net from objects falling from above.
Usually we are accustomed to seeing shading nets that are used to hide the work and stop the dust from dispersing into the surroundings. These nets are very weak and lose their strength and durability very quickly. These nets do not protect the worker when falling, and cannot protect against falling objects.
A standardized safety net can carry a load of up to 2.4 tons per square meter. The durability of the net changes depending on the thickness of the ropes from which it is made, and the size of the net cells. Furthermore, safety nets are resistant to UV radiation, various chemicals, oxidation, winds and more.
The effectiveness of using a safety net in height work
Using a safety net as a solution in height work is effective due to its resistance to changing weather and strenuous working conditions. It can provide solutions for worker and pedestrian protection in a range of complex working conditions.
A safety net replaces other safety systems, which often weigh down and restrict maneuverability.
Installing a safety net
In order to install the safety net in compliance with safety regulations, and for it to accomplish its mission of protecting against falls from heights, preliminary planning is required.
In the preliminary planning stage it is necessary to take precise measurements of the installation site, and calculations of the required support for the potential load that can caused by a worker falling.
Afterwards, an examination of the required spacing and reinforcements must be performed before final installation and customization of the net size.
When planning the installation of a safety net the following aspects, among others, must be taken into account: wind load, potential load, and the weight of the net.
The required standardization should be in accordance with the European netting standard EN 1263, which defines a safety net as:
A net which is supported by a supporting rope, other supporting elements, or both, and is designed to catch people in case of them falling from heights. The standard examines the type, quality and materials of a net, as well as other issues regarding means of support, ropes, net strength and net stability.