High-risk and rope access professionals, like window cleaners and confined space workers, must follow the most intensive safety codes during their working hours. Attention to detail and stringent safety protocols are required to avoid potentially life-changing or fatal fall hazards if something goes wrong with their equipment or to the anchor points to which people are tethered.
Other industries that require specialty fall safety equipment include, but are not limited to:
- Rope access caulking and sealing services
- Roof accessors and restoration trades
- High-rise construction specialists
- Brick pointing professionals
- Signage professionals and installers
- Remote and confined access technicians
- Rope access maintenance tradespeople
- Waterproofing trades
- Rope access pressure cleaners and more
One thing that all these professions require as a primary piece of safety equipment is a robust and reliable rope anchor and the knowledge to correctly identify an anchor point on the structure with which you are working.
You also must be confident, methodical and strategic, with anchor point installation protocols carried out by you and the rest of your rope access team.
Although other safety measures can be put in place in case of failure, most of these circumstances can be avoided entirely by proper anchor points installation techniques. Read on to learn more.
Rope access anchor point 101
There is a wide range of rope access anchors for different applications. Therefore, the kind of anchor you select would be dependent on what kind of anchor point is available in any given situation.
The shape and nature of any given rope access anchor will depend on its applications. These could include structures and surfaces like:
- Corrugated or tiled roofs
- Flat-faced or tiered high-rise structures
- Exhaust and smokestacks
- Glass front high-rises
- Pylons or electrical towers
- Deep holes and confined spaces
- Large scale signage and more
It is essential to use the right tools for the right job, especially when selecting critical safety equipment like rope access anchors.
Some of the different kinds of rope access anchors you may use as an abseiling professional include, but are not limited to:
- Window links
- Concrete links
- Eyebolt links
- Rafter links
- Surface mount links and more
The various types of rope access anchors available will have two things in common: a unique fastening system and load rating.
While the application of any given anchor will be evident to most rope access professionals, the load rating will vary depending on various factors, such as:
- The weight of the user
- The amount of equipment being carried and its weight
- The OH&S requirements and specification of the site
- The conditions you are working in and more
The team members and affiliates here at Abseilers United work tirelessly to remain at the forefront of high-risk rope access and abseiling developments and adhere to the most stringent protocols while using the most current rope access safety equipment available.
We strive for excellence in our field and ensure all measures are taken for the safety of our technicians, affiliated professionals, our clients and the public.
What are anchor points in construction?
Now we have discussed what a rope access anchor is; we must examine how they are applied. So, what is an anchor point in construction?
Rope access or abseiling professionals in the construction industry could be working on any type of construction. These structures could include:
- High-rise residential apartments
- Multi-story housing
- Multi-level corporate or high-rise office buildings
- Community facilities and sports centres
- Large scale sport and entertainment complexes
- Industrial complexes and more
Depending on the type of structure or surface an abseiling professional will be descending will denote what kind of rope access anchor that will be used.
The rope access anchor provides a strong and reliable point for the abseiler to attach their rope for safe descent and ascent.
For a structure to qualify for an anchor point under Australian OH&S standards, the point at which the anchor is attached must be able to withstand 5,000-pounds of force, per-person connected to the rope system.
This means it must be able to withstand twice as much force as that could be applied if a rope access professional was to suffer a fall during their descent or ascent.
An essential skill when utilising a rope access anchor is identifying and performing effective anchor point installations.
The most challenging aspect of selecting an adequate anchor point in cases where the abseiling professional must install one themselves is that it is nearly impossible to calculate the exact force a fall could impose.
Depending on the building design and management and safety protocols, rope access anchor points may be permanently installed on the structure or building. This is most common on high-rise or multi-level buildings that require regularly scheduled cleaning and maintenance on the building’s facade.
Permanent anchor points like concrete anchors or mast anchor points are often strategically placed during the structure’s design.
These points have been optimised for safe and trustworthy access to the building’s face for all rope access professionals who may work on the construct.
The team here at Abseilers United are industry leaders for anchor point installation and high rise window cleaning in Sydney and surrounding areas. All our work meets or exceeds Australian occupational health and safety standards and comes with a clear and concise report.
Unsafe anchor points
While what is considered to be a good anchor point in construction can be diverse, there are some structures you must avoid for anchor point installations.
Utilities and structures you must avoid using for rope access anchor points include, but are not limited to:
- Hand and guard rails
- Lighting fixtures
- Electrical equipment like air conditioners and generators
- Wiring looms and harnesses.
- Floating stairs and ladders
- Rebar and star droppers
- Vents, ductwork and more
If at any point you are unsure or concerned about the safety or condition of a rope access anchor point, it is best not to take any risks.
Contact your manager, supervisor or site manager to discuss your concerns, and only carry out work when all steps in your safety protocols can be carried out and accounted for.
Anchor Points Specialists – Abseilers United Sydney
The team here at Abseilers United is at the forefront of rope access technology and application. Our experienced team of rope access experts can perform work on all building types across all industries.
If you need reliable and trustworthy advice or services for rope access and high-risk professionals, contact our friendly staff today to arrange a consultation.