The lifeline of a fall-arrest system must be connected to an adequate anchor/support or to the structure.
There are three main types of anchor systems for fall protection:
- Designed fixed support – These are load-rated anchors that are specifically designed and permanently installed as an integral part of the building or structure. For example, roof anchors on high-rise buildings.
- Temporary fixed support – These anchor systems are designed to be connected to the structure using specific installation instructions. For example, nail-on anchors used for steep slope installations.
- Existing structural features or equipment – Existing building structural features or rooftop equipment are not intended to be used as anchor points but must be verified by a professional engineer as having adequate capacity to serve as anchor points. For example, roof top mechanical rooms, structural steel, or reinforced concrete columns.
A designed fixed support such as a roof anchor can be used to anchor a fall-arrest system, fall- restricting system, or travel-restraint system if the support has been designed and installed according to the requirements of the Building Code and is safe and practical to use. Roof anchors must be tested on a regular basis by a qualified person and a roof test log book must be located that details the results of completed load tests. Refer to the log book to ensure that testing is up-to date and do not use any anchors that have been damaged or have not passed testing.
Temporary fixed support can be used as anchorage if it meets the following conditions:
- It can support at least 8 kN (1798 lbf).
- When used with a fall-arrest system incorporating a shock absorber, it can support at least 6 kN (1348 lbf) stress for each material used.
- When used with a travel-resistant system, it can support at least 2 kN (450 lbf).
Never connect or anchor to the following:
- Roof vents or soil pipes
- Roof hatches
- Small pipes and ducts
- Metal chimneys
- TV antennas
- Stair or balcony railings