Safety nets have been widely used in the construction industry for several years. This is one of the most dangerous branch industries considering the number of fatal accidents. During construction works, there are often situations where serious hazards for people working at heights take place. The choice of the appropriate type of safety nets depends on the existing danger and the way of fixing the fall protection system to the structure.
If you continue reading our post, we will provide you with a very detailed analysis of safety netting for securing working at heights:
- Safety nets as a means of Collective Protection Equipment (CPE)
- Advantages of using safety netting
- EN ISO 1263 European standard – types of safety nets
– safety net type S
– safety net type T
– safety net type V
– safety net type U
- Safety netting outside the scope of the standard
– RAND PLUS – roofing edge fall protection
– RAND MATERIALS – Falling materials safety netting
Safety nets as a means of collective protection equipment (CPE)
Safety nets are the most effective solution to secure against falls from height. As a passive fall protection system, safety nets allow you to secure the open edges of buildings without requiring the intervention of workers. This is a key factor as it exclude employee’s decision to ensure themselves or not. Safety at the construction site is thus always guarantee, regardless of the employee’s approach to safety procedures.
European Directive 89/391/EEC, which lays down the principles of preventive action, prioritizes CPE over personal protective equipment (PPE). In this direction, Directive 92/57/EEC indicates, among other systems, safety nets EN ISO 1263 as a protection system to prevent against falls from height.
Benefits of safety netting (CPE)
The use of safety nets has many advantages over the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Above all:
- increases the mobility of people working at height. This directly affects in a better efficiency on the construction site.
- increases the level of safety at the construction site. Safety work at height is ensured regardless of the employee’s approach. When entering the danger zone, the employee does not have to do anything to ensure his own safety.
- collective protection equipment increases the feeling of a safety work environment for people working at height, which results in a faster pace of work.
- the price of safety nets is competitive compared to the use of scaffolding.
Legal basis - European standard EN ISO 1263
Safety nets are regulated on the basis of the European standard EN ISO 1263. This standard specifies both the requirement for their manufacture and certification (part 1) as well as its correct installation (part 2). According to the EN ISO 1263-2 standard, safety nets can be used in four different ways or systems. The system consists of safety nets with a set of components.
Considering the above, due to the method of use, the following types of safety nets are listed in the EN ISO 1263-2 standard:
S system safety nets: horizontal safety netting
Type S safety nets are designed to secure during roofing works, works on warehouses frame structures, protection of openings in the ceilings of buildings and the construction of bridges and viaducts. The safety element is the net itself, which has a border rope with a strength of 30 KN. The net is fixed to the structure with the use of rigging ropes of appropriate loads.
To meet the requirements of the standard, such a net should have a minimum area of 35 m2 and the smallest side not shorter than 5 m. Safety nets stop a fall up to 6 m high. However, in accordance with the EN ISO 1263 standard, they should be placed as high as possible on the working level in order to minimize the length of the fall. It is also necessary to analyse the so-called “free space” under the net (netting deflection).
T system safety nets: horizontal safety nets attached to metal supports
Safety nets EN ISO 1263 type T consist in fixing the safety net to horizontal metal brackets fixed to the concrete slab or to the façade. We should check where concrete has already gained sufficient strength. In this way, a “console” will protect employees from falling while working at the edges of buildings sites.
The need to overlap the consoles (requirement from the EN ISO 1263 standard) causes that the edges length secured by one console are 5-5.25 m. T-type safety nets are equipped with a 60mm mesh safety net. It is possible to sew a debris net to the T-type safety net to additionally protect against falling objects and tools.
V system safety net: hinged brackets
Safety nets EN ISO 1263 type V perform similar tasks as type T nets. However, compared to type T nets, hinged bracket system is a much cheaper solution and easier to use in complex building sites.
The hinged bracket is a very advanced system certified as a V-type EN ISO 1263 safety net. Thanks to the possibility of freely setting the angle of the bracket, the system allows you to create a kind of “cage” on the top floor of the site, which completely closes the danger zone. This is AITANA SAFETY’s proposal to the danger posed by “gallows” V systems.
The use of V-type safety nets (“gallows”) to protect the edges of building sites raises a lot of controversy. The upper edge of the safety net is almost 3 meters away from the edge of the building, which is the cause of many accidents. On the other hand, due to the size and weight of the brackets, it is a very difficult system to assemble and move to a higher floor.
More information on the hinged bracket V-type safety net right here.
U system safety net: vertical safety netting
U-type safety nets are the best solution for securing high-rise buildings. They provide complete closure of working areas and excellent wind resistance. These are the only nets listed in the standard that not only protect against falling from height, but above all, prevent the fall itself. A debris net can be added to the U-type safety net in its entirety or as a toeboard, thus also protecting against falling objects and tools.
You can also use this type of netting:
- attached to vertical posts mounted on the edges of flat roofs or roofs with a pitch angle up to 45°
- on the edges of working areas located at a height
- on scaffolding
- filling the safety barriers.
Safety nets outside the scope of the EN ISO 1263 standard
There are also safety systems on the market based on safety netting not covered by the EN ISO 1263 standard. These types of solutions include:
RAND PLUS edge and roof protection system certified EN ISO 13374
This is a patented solution designed to secure people working at height during the assembly of:
- roofs with a pitch angle up to 60 °
- roofs of steel buildings and warehouses
- bridges and viaducts
RAND PLUS system has been certified in accordance with the EN ISO 13374 standard as class C. Our system has a wide range of fixing elements that allow it to install in very complex building sites. Safety nets in combination with steel brackets allow you to secure roofs with a pitch angle up to 60° during working at height.
Safety nets RAND MATERIALS - falling materials safety netting
In many situations, the only hazard to prevent is falling objects and tools form height. RAND MATERIALS ensures protection for pedestrians and cars that pass under a bridge or buildings under construction. Debris nets are sewn to the safety nets. In this way, we can both protect against the fall of big and small items.
RAND MATERIAL is a very economical solution that avoids the danger of kickback of a falling object that often occurs when wooden structures and steel consoles are used for this purpose.
Safety nets are the most effective solution to temporary protect against falling from height. As collective protection equipment (CPE), they ensure safety at the construction site, regardless of the approach of people working at height. Depending on the existing risk and the fixing requirements, the appropriate type of safety netting should be chosen.
If you want to keep informed on roof edge protection with safety nets, read our posts on this subject here.