Rail safety systems are technical systems that provide individual fall protection. They are used in combination with personal fall protection equipment (PPE). This type of anchorage system is used to provide the user with uninterrupted protection over longer distances and also makes traversability easy.
From a functional perspective, rail safety systems are similar to lifeline systems which fulfill the same purpose. Rail safety systems are installed permanently along regularly-used access routes where there is a danger of falling off or through the respective surface and can incorporate a range of different intermediate supports, corner elements and components for bridging obstacles or evening out differences in height. These systems are often used on roof surfaces as well as in an industrial environment, the logistics sector and the energy industry.
Rail safety systems generally protect several individuals simultaneously and can be installed parallel to a falling edge over a longer distance - fully interruption-free. The main reason for giving preference to a rail safety system over a lifeline system lies in the way the glider moves along. These gliders - to which users attach the connectors of their PPE - glide particularly smoothly along the system rails due to their integrated rollers. This means that rail safety systems are particularly suitable for overhead applications outside the user's reach. If the user falls, the system reduces the ensuing force - optimally distributing it across the installation surface to ensure that the fall is safely arrested.
Rail safety systems can be flexibly adjusted to fit the structure and are available in different materials. Usually, a differentiation is made between rail-based anchorage systems made of weather-resistant stainless steel that can be deployed in aggressive surroundings - depending on the grade of steel used - and systems manufactured from high-strength aluminium material. By equipping the installation components with special floating bearings, rail safety systems can also be used to provide fall protection in areas with strong temperature fluctuations.
Before using an anchorage device as a personal fall protection measure, its specification plate must be checked. This is a mandatory label which provides the user with the most important information on the system as well as important instructions on how to use it (illustrated below using a lifeline system as an example).