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A Complete Guide To Guardrail Types and Installation

Everything You Need to Know About Guardrail Installation, Compliance and Maintenance When Working at Heights in Australia

Working at heights poses significant risks to workers across Australia every day, making it important to implement proper safety measures, such as guardrail systems. At Eastern Height Safety, compliance with regulations is crucial to ensure the long-term effectiveness of Guardrails in protecting workers from falls and giving them the confidence to do their job effectively. 


What is a guardrail?

A guardrail serves as a form of edge protection designed to prevent falls from elevated platforms, walkways, rooftops, or floors. Typically made from aluminium for durability, strength and corrosion resistance, guardrails can be either permanently installed as part of a Height Safety System or temporarily erected and removed once work is completed.


Guardrails come in various types and configurations, each tailored to specific applications and safety requirements depending on your needs. Here are some common types of guardrails and how they’re used on roofs for safety:


Permanent Guardrails: These guardrails are fixed in place and provide continuous protection along your roof edge. They’re typically made of durable materials such as aluminium or steel and are installed using permanent anchors or mounts. Permanent guardrails offer long-term fall protection for workers accessing the roof for regular maintenance or repairs.


Freestanding Guardrails: Freestanding guardrails don’t require attachment to the roof surface and are self-supporting. They are commonly used on flat roofs where drilling into the roof surface is not possible or desirable. Freestanding guardrails are versatile and can be repositioned as needed, making them ideal for temporary or changing work environments.


Parapet Guardrails: Parapet guardrails are installed on the edge of parapet walls surrounding flat or low-sloped roofs. They provide protection along the perimeter of the roof and help prevent falls over the edge. Parapet guardrails are often made of sturdy materials like steel and are secured to the parapet wall for stability.


Roof Hatch Guardrails: Roof hatch guardrails are specifically designed to provide fall protection around roof access hatches. They are installed around the perimeter of the hatch opening to prevent falls when accessing the roof from inside the building. Roof hatch guardrails can be fixed or removable, depending on the frequency of access and security requirements.






The following is a comprehensive guide on what makes a guardrail compliant in Australia so your people can work safely at heights.


Australian Standards: Guardrails must adhere to the relevant Australian Standards, particularly AS/NZS 1657:2018, which provides guidelines for fixed platforms, walkways, stairways, and ladders. Compliance with these standards ensures your guardrails are designed, installed, and maintained to withstand loads and provide adequate protection.


Height Regulations: Australian regulations specify the minimum height requirements for guardrails to prevent falls. Typically, guardrails should be at least 900mm high above the working surface, with additional measures required for higher-risk situations.


Strength and Durability: Guardrails must be robust and durable enough to withstand the forces exerted on them during normal use and in the event of a fall. They should be corrosion-resistant and capable of withstanding environmental conditions, ensuring long-term effectiveness.


Secure Installation: Proper installation is essential for guardrails to function effectively and keep your workers safe. They must be securely fixed to the structure using appropriate fasteners and installed at a consistent height along the entire length of the working area. Additionally, any penetrations or openings in the guardrail system must be minimised to prevent potential hazards.


Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Ongoing inspections and maintenance like the ones our team carry out are essential to ensure guardrails remain compliant and effective over time. This includes checking for signs of damage, corrosion, or wear and tear, as well as ensuring all components are securely fastened and functioning correctly.


Documentation and Record-Keeping: During every project Eastern Height Safety will keep a detailed record of your guardrail installation, maintenance, and inspections to demonstrate strict compliance with Australian regulations. This documentation will include records of inspections, repairs, and any modifications made to the guardrail system.


Stay compliant and protect your workers

By following these guidelines you can make sure your guardrails provide effective protection for workers at heights, reducing the risk of falls and promoting a safer working environment. 


Compliance with Australian standards not only protects workers but also minimises the potential for accidents and liabilities in your workplace while allowing for the regular maintenance of HVAC, water tanks, electrical and communication boxes and other roof equipment.


To learn more about how our configurable guardrails can be used on your building or to check if your current roof safety system is compliant, please Get In Touch with our friendly team.

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