With the shocking rise in the annual number of deaths in the construction industry last year, the importance of safety netting is more relevant than ever before.
The size of the job, big or small makes no difference; if you have employees working on a roof they will need protecting.
The modern, lightweight safety netting used today are fitted as close to the work position as possible. By fitting safety nets so close to the working level they prevent a fall causing personnel injury and also offer a collective level of protection, as such, they are an improvement on the use of harnesses and lanyards.
Safety netting can provide one solution for those working on roofs and may not be suitable for all your projects. However if they are, below is a summary of the information you and your staff need to know before appointing a safety net firm.
What types of buildings are they most suitable for?
How do you know that the riggers you are using are qualified?
What are the questions you should be asking when employing netting firms?
How should the nets look when installed correctly?
1. Are safety nets suitable on my project?
When thinking about the netting, consider how and where they will be attached below the work area. Safety netting is most suited to steel or timber framed buildings where the nets can easily be attached.
The available methods of rigging nets to the building are Tie cords, Net claws and Grippas.
Tie cords – suitable for most applications
Grippas – suitable for I beams. Quick to rig and de-rig
Net Claws – Installed with a pole these attachments are used where ladders are not permitted and the working height is less than 3.5m
2. How do you know the riggers are suitably qualified?
All riggers must have a CSCS / FASET card and be trained to BS EN 1263-2 . You may also require nets to be fixed in areas where a cherry picker cannot reach. In which case the rigger must also hold an IRATA rope access certificate.
New riggers now undergo at least 200 hours of practical and classroom training, only once the test and assessments are complete can they apply for a CSCS/FASET Safety Net Rigger Card as proof of their competence.
Modules covered as part of the training include:
Safe working at height
Working at height legislation
Safety Net Technology
Rigging principles and techniques
Inspection of Safety Nets
Care and storage of nets
Rigging skills and knot tying
3. What questions should you be asking the netting companies
Are they a member of FASET, the trade association and training body for the safety net rigging and fall arrest industry? By using a FASET member you can be sure that your collective protection will work when it needs to!
FASET members will have been have proven to be competent in the safe and proper erection/dismantling of safety nets and have the following as a minimum:
Public and Employers Liability Insurance
Qualified safety net riggers and a commitment to training
Products that conform to relevant European standards and codes of practice
Health and Safety policy
Significant proportion directly employed management and supervisory staff
4. How should the nets look when rigged? Points to look out for:
Do the nets have serial number test meshes and a label detailing where and when the net was made?
Has the net been UV tested in the last 12 months and received a pass certificate?
It the net free from damage?
Are repairs to the net tagged?
Is the primary support suitable?
Is the sag at approximately 10%?
Is the tie spacing less than 2.5m?
Are the nets sufficiently overlapped by 2m and is the netted area free from gaps?
When all the nets are rigged are they handed over with appropriate paperwork?
Don’t cut corners when looking to install safety nets as lives depend on it.
If properly installed, safety nets will save a man’s life and those working above a safety net must have total confidence in the ability of the safety net to contain their fall.