Mesh Fall Protection Systems: Testing and Compliance

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.

Mesh Fall Protection Systems: Testing and Compliance / Tensile Design & Construct

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.

Mesh Fall Protection Systems: Testing and Compliance / Tensile Design & Construct

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