In a series of articles we’ve highlighted temporary fall protection solutions for various situations in which permanent installations are not possible or feasible. We’ve had a look at temporary anchorage on top of shipping containers with the twist anchor, and anchorage via door or window frames with the jamb anchor. Now we want to look at beam anchors that can be used on steel beams in, for example, assembly halls or aircraft hangars.
Inside factory locations there may be situations in which work has to be executed at height in places where temporary fall protection solutions are the only option. For example, because the work is extremely sporadic, or because a permanently installed measures could hinder other equipment.
Structural steel beams offer a great means of anchorage with the appropriate personal fall protection equipment. If choosing this type of solution: be sure to only use the strong, load-bearing beams. Decorative steel or roof joists are not suitable as anchor point for fall protection equipment.
Work at height with a beam anchor
If work at height has to be executed in one, unvarying location, you could choose equipment that is temporarily installed, for example a beam anchor. This device is installed in one place on steal H or I beams and cannot be moved during use. The anchor provides a safe workplace for one worker while executing the work.
Is the work location spread out and does a user need to travel? Then a beam trolley may offer fitting safety. The principle of the beam trolley is comparable with the beam anchor. The difference is that the trolley has rollers and can move with the user, along the steel beam.
Unlike the beam anchor, the beam trolley can only be used in an overhead situation. Meaning the anchorage has to be above the user, so on an overhead steel beam. The beam anchor can also be used at foot level.
Both the beam anchor and beam trolley can only be used after careful consideration of how the work area will be reached and the fall clearance available. Workers need to be able to access the work area without putting themselves at risk. And there needs to be enough space for the worker to fall without hitting a lower surface, machinery or equipment. This is all dependent on the height of the person, the stretch of the harness, the lanyard used and a safety factor. Therefore, in overhead situations, it is advised to use these anchorage systems in combination with an automatic fall arrester or Self-Retracting Lanyard (SRL).
The beam anchor or beam trolley offers a great way to anchor users while working at height. The temporary anchors are easy to attach to, and remove from, steel I or H beams, creating portable safe work places. Download the beam fall protection leaflet to learn more about the two solutions.