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Height Safety

Height Safety Poly Panel Roof Anchors Technical Information

Insulated Panel Systems or Composite Sandwich Panels are used in a variety of applications from Industrial and Commercial Coolstores to Agricultural and Architectural Buildings, Sport Centers, Commercial Premises, Warehouses and Factories, Offices, Exhibition Space and Convention Centers around the world.
People can spend millions of dollars on building Insulated Panel Coolstores to house their produce for the export market, those products need to be kept in a controlled environment. By attaching height safety products or systems that can cause damage to those Insulated Panels can cost you millions in export sales through loss of that controlled environment.

Metal Insulated Sandwich Panels
The Metal Insulated Sandwich Panel is a lightweight panel system incorporating an expanded foam core with factory 0.55 laminated outer steel covers in a flat or trapezoidal profile manufactured to act as a roof systems which can have a minimum pitch of 3 degrees. Unlike single skin metal roof profiles, the strength of panel construction permits exceptional spans requiring fewer structural supports.

When designing any height safety anchor points or systems that are attached to Metal Insulated Sandwich Panels,
extreme care must be taken to protect the core and the outer skin of the Insulated Panel from damage.

Anchor Design
The main anchor body is made up of three components: a mounting plate which is 10mm thick mild steel, a 30mm mild steel stem which can vary in height to control the type of absorption that may be required to reduce excess loading on the panel, and a 10mm diameter mild steel bar welded to the top of the stem to form the eye. This eye also absorbs energy.

All Insulated Sandwich Panel Anchors are manufactured using 250 grade mild steel. The welding of all height safety anchors is carried out using the Welding certification Procedure AS/NZS 2980:2007

Coating System
Kulorthene Series ABCITE® thermoplastic powder coatings have been developed specifically for enhanced long term corrosion protection, high impact strength and excellent exterior weathering.

 Coating Benefits include
Exceptional resistance against salt spray,humidity, most common chemicals, acids, and alkalis. Abcite® coatings have high elongation properties, excellent mechanical resistance, are solvent free, have excellent substrate adhesion without the need for primers, superior chip resistance, and will provide superior substrate protection even to sub zero temperatures.
(View coating system)
Environmental Conditions
• Does not suffer from premature failure through embrittlement

• Excellent adhesion without the need for primers 
• Tactile grip and warm feel

• Very good sound and electrical insulation properties 
• Low flammability and low smoke and toxic fume emissions
• Environmentally friendly - 100% recyclable, no VOC's, plasticisers,TGIC,heavy metals or halogens
• Coating is easy to repair in-situ
• Long term corrosion protection to metal items

• Excellent resistance to exterior weathering, sun
 • Excellent coverage of edges and welds
• Excellent chemical resistance, including acids, alkalis and
  road salts

• Potable water certifications - suitable for contact with
  drinking water and food

• Vandal and graffiti resistance

• Excellent impact and abrasion resistance - will not chip or  
crack even at very low temperatures
Protecting the panel
To fully protect the Insulated Panel from the dynamic force generated from a fall-arrested load, the Insulated Panel needs to be sandwiched between the main mounting plate of the height safety anchor on the outside of the building (see photo 1) and the height safety anchor backing plate is placed on the underside of the Insulated Panel. (see photo 2)

Bonding system
Before attaching the mounting and backing plates we recommend applying Sikaflex 11FC white sealant to the under sides of the anchor to act as a gasket, sealant and an adhesive. (see photo 3) The bonding strength of the Sikaflex 11FC is 50kgs per 1 millimeter square.
By using both methods, bolts and Sikaflex 11FC, we are able to spread the loading over a much greater area to protect the Insulated Panel from point loading from a single bolt or fixing which can damage the Insulated Panel.

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Bolting System
The system we use is the same system the Insulated Panel manufactures have designed to attach the Insulated Panel to the building structure. (see dia 1)
Attachment of the anchor consists of
  1. 4 x PVC tube inserted into the core of the Insulated Panel to act as a spreader between both faces of the anchor, these stop any crushing of the Insulated Panel when the bolts are tightened.(see dia 1)
  2. Sikaflex 11FC to bond both of the anchor plates in place and to also act as a sealant and a gasket. (see photo 3)
  3. 4 x 10mm threaded rods and nuts to tighten the anchor plates in place.
  4. 1 x 76mm mushroom head as seen in photo 4. This creates a barrier between the inside and outside environments along the axes of the threaded rod.
    dia 1

    Photo 3

    Photo 4
    Photo 5
1500kgs or 15kN Testing to AS/NZS 5532.2013 Standards:
All tests that were carried out on this product included a safety factor of x 2

There are two types of testing required under the AS/NZS:5532.2013 Standards for anchor points, they are
Dynamic testing 
Static testing.
  1. When tested in accordance with the dynamic test procedure in Clause, fixed anchor devices shall not release the drop mass. The drop mass shall remain suspended for 3 minutes after the drop test. The anchor device should show no signs of fracture. Bending without signs of fracture is permissible. The anchor shall not release the load. Before test photo 6 After test photo 7.
  2. When tested in accordance with the static strength procedure in Clause, fixed anchor devices and the test structure to which they are attached shall sustain a force equal to their rated capacity for a period of not less than 3 minutes. The anchor device should show no signs of fracture. Bending without signs of fracture is permissible. Before test photo 8 After test 9.
Both the dynamic and static tests were carried out on the same panel shown in photos, two of the same type of anchors were used for each test as allowed by the AS/NZS 5532.2013 Standards.
Photo 6
              Photo 7
Photo 8      
Photo 9               
The panel used in both the dynamic and static tests was free standing, there were no fixings used on the top/bottom or sides of the test panel as there would be if attached to the structure of a building. These tests stand to replicate the worst case scenario as stated in the AS/NZS 1891.4.2009 Standards.

NB: The maximum safe stopping force that can be placed on the human body caused by a fall is 6kN or 600kgs. Safetor Insulated Panel
       anchors start absorbing energy at around 3.8kN to 4kN or 380-400kgs, this brings us well under the maximum safe stopping force.

Energy absorption
Some structural engineers have told me that the Safetor mild steel structural anchors don't work because they yield at under the 15kN or 1500kgs. While they do yield at under 15kN or 1500kgs, it is largely due to the elasticity of the low grade mild steel we use. As the bar bends the yield lowers because it is going through a bending process and the energy is being absorbed by the bending action, when it reaches a certain point in the bend the yield starts to rise again and well exceeds the yield for anchor points. In the strongest direction the anchor has failed at 5000kgs or 50kN and in the weakest direction the anchor has failed at 4000kgs or 40kN.

 Surface Anchors on Panels

Surface Anchor Testing
on roofing material
There are a many types of height safety surface mounted anchors designed for fall-arrest and lifelines that are in use on buildings today, these anchors are attached to roofing material using rivets, screws or bolts. The most common of these anchors are manufactured using a 4mm stainless steel mounting plate with no form of backing plate. The tests we had carried out using a riveted type system alerting us to the fact that this type of system is not safe for use as a fill-arrest anchorage devices.

Point loading on cladding
Point load: A load used in a testing regime as a measure of the ability of roof or wall cladding to support a person with a bag of tools, at mid span. (1.1kN)

A point load is often the most severe of the imposed loads which is calculated at 112 kgs = 1.1 kN. As required by AS/NZS 1170.1 the point load is taken as 1.1 kN over an area of 100 mm diameter in the case of a superimposed load, such as anchor points, the area of contact if the load is not directly attached to the structure. A point load on a roof is always positive or downward (+).

Roof and wall cladding is required to comply with the requirements of the NZBC clauses B1, B2, E2, E3, and also with AS/NZS 1170.


Von-Mises Stress Loading
Von Mises stress is considered to be a safe haven for design engineers, using this information an engineer can say if his design will fail if the maximum value of Von Mises stress induced in the material is more than the strength of the material. This works well, especially when the material is ductile in nature.

In 2015 I engaged BVT Engineering Professional Services in Christchurch New Zealand to carry out the Von-Mises stress analysis test on a surface mounted anchor.  (view full report)

It was evident in the Von-Mises Stress test that a 4mm stainless steel base plate has enough flexibility to direct the loading away from all the fixings working as one to a small number of fixings depending on the direction of loading, this creates greater point loading on the sandwich panels. By using a 270mm or greater in diameter bonded anchor, manufactured from 10mm mild steel plate with a 4mm backing plate that is also attached using 4 x M12 bolts, the load is then spread over a much greater area and removes point loading at the equation altogether.

Sandwich panels can be damaged by using:
  • Anchor points that have thin mounting plates on the top side can create a point loading on the sandwich panel
  • Lifelines or travel wires on sandwich panels (even wind drag on the lifelines can put loading on the end anchors)
  • No backing plates on the underside of the sandwich panel to help spread the load can create point loading
NB: All lifeline or wire travel systems that are on any Sandwich panel building should be removed before the sandwich panels become damaged. If a lifeline or wire travel system is to be used, the anchors should be attached to the steel structure and not just the sandwich panel.

Material Testing Laboratory in Auckland New Zealand have carry out a number of static tests for me on roofing iron. The tests carried  out by MTL are shown below in photos 10a, 10b and 10c you will note the roofing completely failed in photos 10b and 10c.

Static test results on roof material 

The static test results on single skin roofing material are related to photos 10a,10b & 10c. The testing material used in this test was: 2 x 0.55 and 2 x 0.40 Galvanised Corrugated Iron roof sheets, 14 x 7.70 Olympic  Bulb-Tite rivets complete with EPDM washer with weather tight seal and 2 x 50 x 400 x 4mm flat mild steel.
  1. The static test results do in fact show a pass on all 4 samples used, 0.55mm 21kN pass and 0.40mm 15kN pass. While the tests show a pass You have to understand we are in fact using galvanised roofing iron and not the commonly used zincalume roofing material. (zincalume roofing material has a much higher tensile strength)
  2. Corrugated roofing iron has a natural curved profile which makes it much stronger than trapezoidal roof profiles.
  3. The overall height of the test brackets riveted to the roofing was only 4mm thick (This plays a big part in any test results of this nature)
Load Transference
Static test photos 10b and 10c show that the roofing iron failed at the last rivet, in the dynamic testing the surface mounted anchors again failed at the last very rivet as seen in photos 11b and 11c. Failure always occurs at the very last rivet because the bulk of the loading is transferred to the end rivet. Because a hole has been drilled in the roofing iron to accommodate the rivets this creates a week point in the roofing iron were the tearing of the material begins.

      Photo 10a              
               Photo 10b              
Photo 10c
Dynamic testing to 15kN as per the AS/NZS 5532.2013 Standard was carried out on the surface mounted anchor shown in the photos 11b and 12b below the anchor failed the test. The reason this type of anchor fails is all related to the thickness of the mounting plate.
Refer: Von-Mises stress analysis test

       Photo 11a
      Photo 11b
Photo 11c     
Lifelines on Panels
Lifeline systems
Extreme care must be taken when
attaching lifeline systems to Insulated Panel Systems or Composite Sandwich Panels which are used on coolstore buildings. By installing the wrong type of anchor systems onto Insulated Panel Systems or Composite Sandwich Panels for a lifeline system the panels can become damaged. The poly panel can be damaged at the anchor attachment point in one or two ways.

For safety reasons, all testing of height safety anchor points should be carried out by an independent IANZ Accredited Height Safety Laboratory, which is why we engaged the services of a Telarc registered Material Testing Laboratory & QSI who are qualified to carry out AS/NZS 5532.2013 anchor testing standards.