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With rare exception most anchor failures are caused by the operator, not the anchor.

The Height Safety Industry has made leaps and bounds in recent times. Thankfully the days of the age-old “I don’t need a harness mate, I’ve been doing this for years” commentary is almost gone. There’s a growing trend, where contractors are now flagging working at height hazards and feed this back to building managers and PCBU’s.

But as the industry grows, potential new dangers are becoming more readily apparent, with an alarming growth in poorly designed and installed Height Safety & Anchor systems appearing on sites.

“Employers should train workers on how to set up and work with fall protection and fall arrest systems.”

Currently, the minimum training for a worker to potentially start using fall arrest systems is a ‘Working at Heights’ course with an RTO. This course will help workers to identify these ‘potential dangers’ with installations but is limited, therefore, use of systems by inexperienced workers could prove to be fatal.

To help, below are some of our top tips to help identify anchors and be confident that the system you are using is fit for purpose.

  • Ensure all workers are suitably trained
  • Ask the Building Manager for the current Inspection report before using any system ensuring the anchors have been inspected and are in date for use
  • Are there sufficient anchors for you to safely access all areas of the building without putting yourself at risk?
  • Check that the anchor is rated correctly for your intended purpose. Certain anchors can be used for height safety but may not be suitable for Rope access
  • Are the anchors tagged and clearly labelled? Data label attached and clearly visible with all relevant data filled out, including the last inspection date
  • Are the anchors installed as per manufacturers recommendations? If something doesn’t look right, stop and ask some questions, manufacturers are always keen to help
  • If an anchor is installed into Bricks check that there is a backing plate on the opposite side that is spreading the potential load over several courses. Whilst the anchor may pass a Proof Load test, the sudden force of a fall could cause a single brick to dislodge allowing the anchor to pull out
  • Make sure surface mount Anchor rivets have been installed correctly (this could be difficult for an untrained person to identify?), and that there are no signs of corrosion on components
  • If the roof is a clip lock roof ensure tech screws have been installed into a purlin as well as rivets. again, this could be difficult for an untrained person to identify?
  • Roof deck quality in good condition i.e. No visible rust or roof deterioration

COMMON CONCRETE ANCHOR FAILURE MISTAKES – With rare exception most anchor failures are caused by the operator, not the anchor. Some of the most prevalent mistakes made are:

  • Not fully expanding a drop-in anchor because the wrong setting tool was used or the operator simply “felt” that the anchor was set
  • Setting a stud anchor at too shallow a depth because it was on top of a rebar
  • Setting a capsule anchor by simply driving the threaded stud into the capsule and not spinning it. As the adhesive has not been mixed with the catalyst it will not set fully or not at all
  • Leaving an inordinate amount of dust in the hole when using an adhesive anchoring system.The adhesive bonds to the dust and the dust is bonded to nothing
  • Using an anchor which does not have the capacity for the job. A particular anchor may be adequate on a horizontal surface but totally inadequate when used on a vertical one with the exaggerated component loads on equipment in this position
  • Using the wrong size carbide bit to drill the hole. The best example of this is using an old worn 5/8” bit for 1/2” anchors. The anchor is quick to install and just as quick to fail

If you have any questions regarding anchor points or height safety systems feel free to speak to one of our team today on 1300 301 214.

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