Fall protection systems on balconies and other elevated areas need to be robust enough to prevent falls from heights.
If you are considering a stainless-steel wire mesh system as a balustrade, it’s important to ensure each of the components have been thoroughly tested for break-load and strength before installation.
This includes the mesh, the perimeter (either cable or bar) and the anchors supporting the perimeter.
What to consider in ensuring a safe and robust system
There is no Australian standard in place for testing mesh systems – apart from AS1170 which covers load conditions on a structure. This means there is a risk of poor-quality imitations landing on the market.
Manufacturers of mesh fall systems should be able to provide testing information on all the parts and components. This includes the mesh, the stainless-steel ropes, the anchors, and especially the mesh sleeves – since these make up the weakest link in the system.
The tests should have been conducted by a reputable and neutral third-party, to ensure they are thorough and unbiased.
In cases where manufacturers only list the break-load of the wire on their documentation, it’s an indication they have most likely not tested the mesh itself.
It could also indicate that the product is a cheap knock-off – something that should be avoided at all costs!
No standard for climbability
Another issue with mesh balustrades is climbability. A balustrade is considered climbable when it provides footholds all the way up. Again, there is no Australian standard regarding aperture-opening size to prevent footholds. There is however a general industry acceptance of 40mm or less as being non-climbable.
At Tensile, we use Jakob’s webnet mesh for balustrades, and all our components have been independently tested for strength and break-loads. Contact us to find out about proven fall protection systems for your next project.