Personnel safety nets are designed to save lives and reduce injuries by catching and then absorbing the energy from a falling body and those working below from falling debris and tools.Always positioned as close to the worker as possible, nets represent a collective fall protection safety solution that offers effective protection to a group of workers (rather than just one), and is passive in character (no action is required to experience the protection offered). Every safety net must be maintained systematically and routinely inspected when rigged. A competent person must carry out this thorough inspection. The Health and Safety in Employment Act (HSE Act) 1992 requires that all practicable steps must be taken to prevent a person at work from being harmed.
Major advantages of using safety nets as fall protection systems
When using a Fall Arrest System (safety harness, lanyard and static lines) you only have minutes to extricate the victim from suspension of a fall, and even then they can still suffer severe suspension trauma which can lead to death if not handled correctly.
Safety nets are designed to progressively deflect (stretch) and absorb the energy of a fall, so a falling person is less likely to be injured. The greater the fall height, the greater the impact; so the safety net’s deflection must also be greater. The safety netting must be able to deform or deflect enough to absorb all of the energy from the fall’s impact up to the maximum fall height for the design. There must be enough clear distance below the safety netting so that the person falling does not hit an obstacle or the ground while the net is deflecting.
The Health and Safety Act states that, when working at heights, a fall arrest system should only be used as a last resort if all other measures have been deemed impracticable, safety netting is a practical solution to eliminate the hazard.
Increased confidence by workforce = increased productivity in a safe environment.
Reliance on the employee to be suitably trained and connected at all times using a harness is also eliminated; as trained professionals will install the safety netting prior to the roofers coming on site.
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