To provide roofers, chimney sweeps and other individuals that work high up on pitched roofs with an anchorage device (AD) for attaching their safety harnesses, so-called roof safety hooks are installed. These are firmly attached to the subsurface, generally to a load-bearing roof beam. A roof safety hook is an anchorage eyelet - a typical feature of an AD - and a hook for attaching a ladder all rolled into one. These special roof hooks must be manufactured, tested and labelled in accordance with the mandatory EN 517 standard.
EN 517 distinguishes between two types of roof safety hook: Roof hooks in accordance with type A are only tested for one fall direction and can only be used when the user is located below the hook. This is problematic in practice as the roof hook then needs to be located above the roof access point or window to allow the user to hook up correctly from underneath, if he/she wants to be secured at all times. This also makes working at the roof apex difficult.
Roof safety hooks labelled as type B-compliant offer more flexibility. As these are suitable for all directions of load, you are relatively free to position these roof hooks at any desired point on the pitched roof surface. Once the roof workers have connected up, they can move across the roof surface much more freely.
Alongside the roofer’s personal protective equipment (PPE) kit, a roof safety hook can also be used in combination with a roofer’s ladder. Traditionally made of wood, most modern roof ladders are manufactured from a considerably lighter aluminium material. These offer roof workers a stable footing but can only be used up to a certain roof pitch. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that the ladder is not hooked up using one of its upper rungs.
Most roof safety hooks are produced from stainless steel material that buckles under stress. This not only ensures that they are adequately weatherproof but is also a safety aspect. The roof hooks buckle when subjected to the force of a fall so as to significantly reduce the force exerted on the underlying surface. As a rule, the connector between the roof hook and the user’s safety harness is equipped with an additional (lanyard) energy absorber - also designed to reduce the ensuing force.