What to consider when choosing a guardrail?


After weeks of consideration, you finally figured it out. A guardrail will be the best solution to keep your (maintenance) workers safe, when working on the roof. But then, a lot of questions that need to be answered.

There are plenty of guardrails available on the market. Different materials, mounting options, freestanding or roof penetrating, attached to walls or parapets. With all these options on the table, decisions need to be made. ­­­

Five different factors

In this article we will discuss five different factors to take into consideration when you need to choose a guardrail for your roof.

A guardrail on a roof will be mainly used for fall protection, as guardrails are one of the work at height solutions.

  • One of the main benefits of guardrails is that they don’t require much knowledge about working safely at heights. Workers don’t need an extensive safety briefing, PPE does not need to be checked and the entire roof can be turned into a safe zone.
  • Another benefit is with guardrails, an unlimited number of users can safely access the roof, without having to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

After the choice of guardrail is made, you need to consider if the guardrail is going to be temporary or permanent. It is important to know that temporary and non-penetrating are not the same thing, when it comes to guardrails. If you planned to take down the guardrails after the work is done, a temporary guardrail or freestanding guardrail is the way to go.

The roof material and surroundings will also determine if a guardrail needs to be mounted on a roof or just set on top of a roof (freestanding). A freestanding guardrail is also called a non-penetrating guardrail. These guardrails are designed to remain in place, without having to attach them to the structure of the roof.

Also, when you don’t want to lose roof warranty by drilling holes in a roof, a non-penetrating guardrail is the way to go. A XSseQure freestanding guardrail is a perfect example of this. If you don’t have roof warranty, why do you want to risk potential roof leaks by drilling into the roof?

Always take the weather into account. Thunderstorms and severe weather are becoming more common. Heavy winds and snow can affect the stability and trustworthiness of any roof safety solution. Guardrails are no exception to this rule. Make sure that a (piece) of a guardrail does not come flying off your roof and damaging equipment or, more import, putting lives at risk.

Of course, with larger roof surfaces and larger safe zones, guardrails can be an expensive solution. Depending on the type of guardrail and for example where the counterweights are made from.

Choosing the right guardrail

With all these factors taken into consideration, we can make a decision which type of guardrail to choose. Mainly speaking, there are two types of guardrails:

  • Free-standing guardrails: When drilling or any other form of mounting to the roof membrane is not preferred, a free-standing guardrail system can be considered. This type of system can easily be set up near the edge of the roof (or other fall hazard) and is kept in place by a counterweight block for each upright. This is why this system is also called a non-penetrating guardrail.
  • Permanent guardrails: Sometimes a roof is provided with a parapet which does not meet the local requirements for fall prevention. Often the height of the parapet is not enough to make it serve as a fall protection barrier. In these cases a permanent guardrail system can be installed to, or on top of, the existing parapet to create a safe working zone for workers.

XSseQure: Our newest asset

To make the decision easier and more cost-effective, XSPlatforms has created the XSseQure guardrail. This set of guardrails is cost-effective for projects on both small and large roof surfaces. Also, this system is quick and easy to install because it is made from lightweight aluminum.

The benefits of this system are:

  • A high quality, stable guardrail system
  • Beautiful aesthetically designed system
  • Competitive pricing
  • Safe and easy to assemble
  • No pre-drilling/riveting in aluminum components required
  • The system can be installed by one person only
  • Easy to stack

Download the leaflet

Do you want to know more about this XSseQure guardrails system? Download the leaflet or check out the XSseQure page, which includes a brand new video from the system.

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