Ben Rutter, Product Manager at Kee Safety, explains why contractors should be specifying self-closing safety gates for roofs that require regular access for maintenance and inspection.
Safety when working at height
Ensuring optimum safety when working at height is of paramount concern. No contractor knowingly wants to put their own life at risk, and it would be fair to say that they are increasingly aware of how important it is to take proper precautions and use the right equipment when working on rooftops. End users too are accepting the principles behind fall protection, such as roof edge protection systems, which ultimately support workers who routinely access rooftops.
According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height remain one of the most common causes of fatality and major injury in the UK. The figures around working at height falls are staggering, seeing as there are a number of regulations and guidance notes in place. You only have to visit the HSE website on a regular basis to read about the latest accidents, and the fines that employers have faced as a result.
For contractors accessing rooftops on a regular basis, it is essential to work with a safety system, and sensible to opt for a solution that isn’t reliant on correct usage.
Safety gates for rooftops
Safety gates are a great option for use on roofs where regular access for maintenance and inspection is required.
For many years, chains, bars and sliding link tubes have been the method of protection for safe access to rooftops. Whilst these provide a simple safety solution, they are reliant on correct usage which, as we all know, isn’t reliable. Contractors can forget to replace the bar or chain, leaving a gap behind them.
According to the HSE, self-closing safety gates are the preferred method of protection. These systems ensure contractors can fulfil their job, follow best practices and comply with current safety standards, without putting their safety at risk.
Self-closing gates are spring loaded, so can automatically close behind the contractor, providing an added level of security and overcoming the potential for human error.
Safe access to roofs is essential, particularly when it comes to working at height via ladders, roof hatches and walkways. Self-closing safety gates provide a simple and effective solution to ensuring safety when working at height, that isn’t reliant on correct usage. If you are considering safe access from a stairway, ladder or guardrail, the specification of self-closing safety gates will help you to comply with relevant standards such as BS EN 14122 and BS 4211.
Safety gates for ladders
The BS 4211 standard for permanently fixed ladders specifically details requirements for safety gates on ladders and states:
“They should also be designed to provide the equivalent amount of guarding as any adjacent guarding provided at the arrival area e.g. by including at least a handrail, knee-rail and toe-plate, as defined in BS EN 14122-3:2001, 3.2”.
Full height self-closing safety gates, designed for permanently fixed ladders, are compliant with the above standards. Kee Safety’s full height safety gates are 1.1m high and include an aluminium toe board for added protection. The gates are fully adjustable and can accommodate openings up to 1m.
KEE GATE self-closing safety gates
Some systems, such as KEE GATE, are available in galvanised steel and, if required, can be powder coated in safety yellow. Available with standard 'U' bolts for fixing to uprights of 33.7, 42.4 and 48.3 mm diameter, the gate can be fixed quickly to existing supporting structures, posts or stringers. An additional fixing pack is provided, which allows the gate to be fixed to square, flat or angle uprights. Easy to install or to retro-fit existing structures, such as galvanised handrails and roof edge protection systems, KEE GATE is 1 metre wide. Designed to be trimmed on-site, this solution saves companies the time and money it takes to fabricate their own gates.
It is important to ensure that the system that is specified, is compliant with the requirements of EN 13374 Class A, EN ISO 14122 Part 3 & Part 4 and is CE marked to EN 1090.
KEE GATE has undergone extensive testing to ensure total reliability of the gates. These include salt spray testing to ASTM B117-11 Neutral solutions over 200 hours to assess the coating’s corrosion resistance, life cycle testing to BS 6375-2:2009 Clause 6.5 – Opening and closing of Gate through 90 degrees 50,000 cycles and Abuse Testing where 9 x 25kg weights were suspended from the gate to test what happens when pressure is applied. This ensures durability, superior corrosion resistance and defence against signs of wear.
Specifying this type of system presents contractors with a quicker, more cost-effective and easier to install solution that eliminates the possibility of human error.
Main Features and Benefits of KEE GATE Safety Gates
- Spring loaded gates so they automatically close behind the user
- Independently tested
- CE marked to EN 1090
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Standard 1m wide gate can be cut to size
- Can withstand loads up to 225Kg (so if a person falls against it, the gate won’t buckle)
- Reversible hinges for left or right hand side opening to allow easy installation
- Galvanised steel or powder coated in safety yellow colour
- Can fit different surfaces (round or square)
- Retro-fit to existing structures
- Comply with test requirements of EN 13374 Class A and with EN 14122 Part 3 & Part 4