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30 St Mary Axe - The Gherkin. Image CC credit Remko van Dokkum

Working at height: SAEMA announces new guidance

Three new guidance documents have been published by SAEMA, the trade body representing the façade access systems sector.

The first, a seven page document covering rescue and planning, explains what to do in the event of a mechanical or electrical failure, and is designed to provide information and guidance for duty holders – building owners, main contractors and facilities managers – who are responsible for the management and safe use of both permanent and temporary façade access systems.

It covers the relevant regulations and standards, the necessity to have a rescue plan in place, and includes a rescue flow chart highlighting the options and actions to be taken. For example, can remote controls be used to recover the operatives and restore normal working?

The second guidance details how to determine the necessary loads to comply with the requirements of BS EN 1808, the European standard which prescribes the manner in which suspended access equipment should be designed. The 11-page document contains easy-to understand charts and diagrams, plus examples of various load cases from ‘normal working’ through to ‘parking plus storm winds‘ and ‘extreme conditions’.

The third, and latest, is a guide to using components of existing building maintenance units (BMUs) as anchorage points for industrial rope access equipment – a cause of increasing concern to the Association due to the number of instances where installed suspended access systems have been used incorrectly and therefore dangerously as anchors. Promoting safety and best practice as its primary objective, it covers the key topics including change of use, loadings and the requirements of the relevant regulations and standards.

SAEMA chairman, Barry Murphy commented:

“These are just the first in a series of guidance documents currently being developed by the Association’s technical committee. In every case they reflect latest thinking and best practice.”

SAEMA’s member companies – who adhere to a strict code of practice and meet all the relevant national and European standards – are responsible for the installation and maintenance of both temporary and permanent access systems at many of the UK’s landmark sites, including 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) and 122 Leadenhall Street (The Cheesegrater).

The new documents are free to download.

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