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Guard Rails And Edge Protection

Falls from heights are a serious hazard that can cause injury and death to workers. Falls from heights are often caused by unprotected edges. If you can’t eliminate the need for work at height, you should build a solid structure such as scaffolding.

Guard Rails Edge Guardrails Protection

Every open edge of a scaffold platform must have adequate Edge Protection. This can be in the form of double guardrails or toe boards to stop workers and materials from falling.

Roof-edge purpose-designed scaffold must be strong enough for someone to fall on it. Other factors to consider are roof pitch, rooftop, and length of roof edge-roof-protection. Every working platform and access platform should have full edge protection, including a handrail/mid-rail, toe board, or brick guard.

Guard Rail Parts

Guard Railing Must Be Installed

  • Install a trail 900mm-1100mm higher than the working surface
  • Incorporate a mid-rail, include a toe board (except in cases where it might be impossible to do so), and other control
  • Measures such as ‘no-go’ zones to make sure that no one is at risk of getting hit are some examples

When The Scaffold Is Being Constructed, Fallible Objects

  • Must be robustly constructed and built by relevant Australian Standards.

Top Rails

  • Top rails should extend between 900mm to 1100mm above the surface of the work surface

Mid Rails

  • You must have mid-rails. The mid-rail may be replaced by wire mesh guards that incorporate a toe board.
  • Toe-boards are required wherever practical
  • The mid-rail and mesh guards are designed to stop people or objects from sliding off the roof.

Toe Boards

  • You must place toe-boards along with a mid-rail if there aren’t mesh guard rails.

Catch Deck

  • When a deck has been set up for a catch it must have a minimum of 1m fall distance from the deck to the working surface.
  • A deck can be set to allow access to a surface for work. The maximum fall distance is approximately 300mm
  • For roof pitches higher than 25 degrees, catch decks must be placed at least 300mm under the roofing surface (roof).

Roof Pitch 25-35 Degrees

  • If the roof pitch is 26-35°, a platform should also be constructed to reduce the risk of a person falling on the top rail or the guard railing.
  • The platform should not exceed 450mm wide (two scaffold planks), and it should include guardrails as well as infill panels along its outer perimeter.

Roof Pitch Higher Than 35 Degrees

  • A risk assessment should be done if the roof pitch exceeds 35°. This will determine whether additional safeguards are required. This includes ensuring the gutter is no more than 100mm from any edge protection.

Scaffold – Always Use The 1m Rule, Next To Wearing A Harness

  • Protective edge protection must be provided on every open edge of any work platform (handrails/mid-rails/toe boards).
  • Workers should not be allowed to access scaffold penetrations. Workers should not have access to any penetrations in the scaffold.
  • Before handballing scaffold items, make sure all platforms have guardrail protection along all edges that could be thrown by a person.


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