Permanent anchor points offer workers a safe and efficient option for rope and abseiling work.
Installing permanent anchor points on your building means contractor companies can perform their work faster since they won’t need to spend unnecessary time setting up and taking down temporary anchor systems.
But when you install permanent anchors, you also assume the responsibility of guaranteeing those anchor points are safe to use at all times.
Failure to do so can result in severe worker injury and will carry heavy penalties. But this worst-case scenario is easily avoided by scheduling routine anchor point inspections. But this process might feel daunting for you if this is your first time learning about the inspection and certification process.
Plus confusing legislation and regulations surrounding anchor point standards don’t make the process any easier.
But don’t worry. We’ll go over all the things you need to know as a building manager when it comes to testing so that you can rest easy and be sure that all of your systems are secure and your workers will remain safe.
Are All Anchor Points The Same?
Roof anchors will vary based on the intended use, the structure that they’re attached to, and the intended weight load meant to be supported.
The type of anchors you have on your building will depend on your future maintenance needs and your building’s construction.
Your anchor types will determine the testing protocols used to certify them and should be noted down before contacting an inspector.
The most common variables that determine the nature of your roof anchors are as follows:
- Structural Attachment – Permanent roof anchors can take form in many different shapes and sizes depending on the structure and materials of your roof. Post-style anchor points are common when your roof has plenty of flat space to accommodate the base plate. But other anchor solutions exist that span much wider areas for surfaces like corrugated metal roofs with little continuous flat space.
- Load Rating – Single-point roof anchors are rated for use by one person at a time while multipoint anchors can carry two people. Multi-point anchor systems can take many forms and offer versatile solutions for when multiple workers access the same area.
- Intended Use – Anchor systems built for rope work are designed to carry the load for extended periods without deformation. But other types of anchors are only designed for fall prevention. Fall prevention anchors may sometimes be designed to deform after a fall impact but will not lead to failure. Other systems like lifelines are cables mounted to a roof that allows workers to traverse an area and serve as fall protection.
Why Do Anchor Points Need To Be Tested In The First Place?
Like other structural elements of your building, roof anchors can deteriorate over time.
The rate of deterioration will heavily depend on your building’s location, common weather, and other environmental conditions.
Metal is always at risk of corrosion, so regular inspections are necessary to maintain safety. But an often overlooked aspect of anchor point safety by building managers is to consider the condition of the material your anchor points are mounted to.
Your building’s structure must be in good condition to facilitate safe working standards. Concrete showing signs of cracking and chips may not be suitable for proper installation.
Anchor points attached to masonry must also be inspected to ensure that mortar and material are in good condition for the anchor point to be safe.
How Often Should My Anchor Point System Be Tested And Certified?
The specific requirements for your building’s anchor point certifications will depend on your location and will be subject to local legislation.
AS/NZS 5532 sets the national manufacturing standards for single-point roof anchor devices. It governs the static and dynamic load-bearing capacity of roof anchors and sets the standard for their installation.
AS/NZS 1891.4-2009 guides the certification of fall arrest systems including anchor points. At a minimum, all anchor points need to be inspected every 12 months and receive load testing when mounted to concrete. But when it comes to required inspection time intervals, it heavily depends on your location.
Nearly all states require inspections every 6 months based on anchorage type and structure, so check with local government and inspectors to see what your specific requirements are.
What Type Of Testing Should You Do?
Fixed roof anchorage points will typically require two types of inspections.
- Visual inspection – A visual inspection will check for metal corrosion, deformation of the anchor structure, and the structural integrity of the attachment surface. Sometimes anchor points need to be temporarily removed to inspect the underside of the mounting plates. These inspections are necessary because they can help inspectors infer whether an anchor might fail in the future even if it can pass a load-bearing test at the present moment.
- Load bearing inspection – Load bearing inspections use a device that attaches to the anchor point the same way that a worker would hook on. Depending on the type of anchorage and manufacturer guidelines, the load is applied to the anchor point consistently for up to 3 minutes. During this load test, anchor points should not show any signs of deformation.
How To Stay Compliant After Certification
Maintaining a proper certification record is crucial to staying compliant and avoiding severe penalties due to violation.
You should keep a record of the identity and licences of your inspector, the date of inspection, as well as other supporting documents including:
- Anchor point layouts
- Rescue plans
- Anchor point manufacturer documentation
- Testing and certification documents from the certifier
- Properly maintained and weatherproof inspection plates visible at all anchor points
In short, you will be responsible for maintaining all proof that your anchor points meet manufacturer requirements and legislative guidelines.
With a better idea of how to handle your building’s anchor point certifications, you can confidently maintain your building’s scheduled maintenance with ease.
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