In the decade between 2003 and 2013, more than 3,500 deaths occurred within the construction industry alone as a result of falls, which are the leading type of fatality among construction workers.Falls from roofs accounted for 34% of these deaths,making proper safeguards for construction workers working at height a priority. Protective gear is a must to keep workers safe, but compliance may be low if fall protection systems are difficult to use, especially for post-construction roof work. In addition, if the fall protection system is not appropriate to the job or roof type, it may put workers as well as structural integrity at risk.
Fortunately, options are available for fall protection systems that both reduce the risk of injury and minimize structure damage in the event of a fall. MSA’s Latchways Constant Force® post (CFP) system, a roof anchor system designed for both fall arrest and restraint, uses superior energy-absorbing technology in modular solutions configured for each site and project.
Learn how CFP systems work and how they can help you ultimately improve safety, on-the-job performance and ongoing maintenance, and cost-effectiveness.
THE ENERGY-ABSORBING ADVANTAGES OF THE CFP SYSTEM
Constant force refers to “the mechanism used to provide a consistent method of absorbing mechanical energy and controlling tension within the system to a pre-determined constant force.” In fall protection, this translates to the CFP system’s unparalleled ability to protect structures and construction workers alike.
With an energy-absorbing coil that uses controlled deployment to absorb energy generated throughout the entire system and that maintains a constant force in the event of a fall, the CFP system reduces the load back to the roof to just 10 kN, minimizing roof damage. As a result, falls require only replacement of the post, avoiding the expensive roofing repairs following falls among workers using systems without constant force technology.
What’s more, construction workers are more likely to suffer injury or death while using fall protection systems that deliver insufficient energy absorption. While some products may use other means of energy absorption, the CFP system carries with it the assurance that it was tested for the worst-case scenario—three users falling simultaneously at the weakest point on the system rather than merely one worker falling after another.
BENEFITS OF A TOP-FIXED SOLUTION
Because of the unique distribution of energy in the CFP system, this solution can be retrofitted and top-fixed to existing roof structures in addition to being easy to install with new construction. A specially trained subcontractor simply installs the retrofitted and top-fixed post to the roof finish. Top-fixing an energy-absorption fall protection system offers several advantages, including:
- Avoiding damage to a structure’s roof caused by cutting through an existing roof to affix a traditional post back to the building structure beneath the roof sheet, only to rebuild the roof around the installed post.
- Preserving aesthetics and architectural integrity with posts that are smaller and less obtrusive than traditional brackets as well as available in a number of colors that match roofing sheets.
- Allowing for location flexibility thanks to tested compatibility with buildups of all major roof types (standing seam, corrugated metal, secret fix, flat, membrane, green, composite, built-up-on-site [BUOS] and built-up bituminous roofs).
- Easing ongoing maintenance because the CFP system’s top-fixed nature makes it quick and easy to install and use.
- Increasing worker safety through ease of use, improved compliance and proper use along with better energy absorption.
- Reducing costs, time and resources associated with installation, maintenance and risk to workers and the building.
The CFP system has led the marketplace since its inception in 2001. Roy Taylor, Estates Manager for The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield, United Kingdom, uses the CFP system and finds it an attractive choice for construction contractors. He says, “Easy to use, it [the CFP system] gives all the various contractors who use the system a safe and effective system of work[;] it is unobtrusive and allows the vision of the architect to be realized without ruining the look of the building.”