Installing solar panels is great for the environment, but it might not be great for your height safety system.
Installing solar panels on the roof of your building is a great way to help the environment and reduce electricity bills.
However, for those buildings with an existing height safety or roof access system, the installation of solar panels can introduce a problems. These problems can render a safety system non-compliant and place those that rely on them at risk of injury.
Here are some examples of things to look out for when considering having solar panels installed on your roof.
Covering Anchor Points
Roof anchor points are a simple and effective way of setting up a fall arrest system on a roof.
There are many types of anchors suitable for different roofing materials, meaning there is not one standard shape or fixture to look out for.
It is important that anchor points be left in a manner where carabiners, ropes and lanyards can still be attached easily and the system user be able to work free from interference of the solar panel installation.
When installing solar panels, it is critically important that any anchor points already installed on a roof not be covered over. This renders them unusable and the height safety system non-compliant.
Modifications to Building Structures
Permanent height safety and roof access systems are carefully installed in areas that are suitably built to properly support them when placed under loads.
It is critical that these connection points between the height safety system and the building maintain their structural integrity at all times.
The installation of solar panels on a roof could be done in a manner that compromises the structure supporting a height safety system. Were that to occur the would fall out of compliance with Australian law and standards. It would also place anyone relying on that system in the event of a fall at serious risk of injury.
It may be required, in the course of installing solar panels on a roof, to temporarily remove part of all of a height safety system to allow work to be completed.
In these scenarios, the system must be re-installed following the manufactures specifications and certified by a competent person that it has been done so correctly and is compliant with all relevant laws and standards.
Incorrect reassembly or reinstallation of a height safety or roof access system can lead to it not functioning correctly. This would leave the system non-compliant and place any users at greater risk of injury should it not operate correctly during a fall from height.
Height Safety Engineers are the experts in staying safe while working at heights.
Our experts can provide you with the information and advice you need to take up the advantages offered by having solar panels installed, without compromising an existing height safety system.
We can also assist with assessments and advice if you a solar panel installation has already effected your roof access or height safety system.