Maintaining Plant In The Safest Way

ECEX_Blogpost_Heights_imageWorking in the maintenance sector can be dangerous, particularly for personnel who have to routinely access plant and equipment, often located on the roof of the building. To make these tasks as safe as possible, proper health and safety procedure and suitable access equipment is essential.

To avoid any ambiguity surrounding equipment terminology, we have provided the following guide to help maintain the highest level of safety:

Stairs: Preferably between 30o and 38o, but often up to 45o. BS EN ISO 14122-1:2001+A1:2010 provides a useful table to assist with the choice of a fixed means of access between two levels, according to incline, frequency and number of users, duty etc.

Fixed Access Ladder: Often called a Cat Ladder or Vertical Ladder and sometimes a Hooped Ladder, referring to a ladder, permanently fixed to wall, building, or other structure, with rungs and a pitch (incline) of between 75o and 90o. Taller rises – usually over 3.0 metres – must be fitted with a Safety Cage made up of hoops to protect the user from falls, or alternatively with fall arrest equipment; such as a vertical rail or wire cable suitable for use with a sliding fall-arrest system and harness.

The British Standard requires the installation of a Self-Closing Gate at the top of the ladder for additional safety. Rises of over 6.0 metres are fitted with intermediate platforms to enable the user to rest between each flight. Fixed ladders may optionally be fitted with a lockable anti-climb panel or gate to prevent unauthorised use.

Companionway Ladder: Has an incline of between 45o and 60o but may be up to 75o, having treads rather than rungs and handrails, this is a steeper design of stair, for occasional use in rises of less than 2.0 metres and where a conventionally inclined stair cannot be installed due to space limitations.

Other access equipment

Access Gantry: Refers to a raised or suspended walkway with guard-railings that enable safe traverse between two or more points, usually over obstructions such as pipework or ductwork, or provides maintenance/other access to plant located at a different level. It may be accessed level from an existing area, or via a fixed ladder or stair.

Stepover: Describes a means of crossing a pipe, duct or other services without having to clamber over, having steps each end onto a short central platform, and (ideally) handrails both sides.

Edge-protection: A generic term for guard¬-railings or other physical barriers to prevent falls, typically over an unprotected roof or balcony edge. As-built architectural edge-protection is usually known as balustrade. It may be fixed or free-standing, permanent or temporary.

Open Mesh Flooring: Known as ‘OMF’, this is the ubiquitous galvanised steel floor grating used in the majority of plant areas, both outdoors and inside the building. Alternatively, this can be made of strong, lightweight GRP which is easy to install and cut around services, fire-resistant and with built-in gritted non-slip surface.

As experts in access safety and metalwork fabrication, we offer free site assessments and quotations tailored to your needs. Whether you require a cat ladder or roof edge guard-railings, our experts will survey, quote, manufacture, install, modify or refurbish access safety equipment as required.

For more information, speak to one of our experts:
Call: 01635 244 100