09.05.2022 | PV/flat roofs

Fall protection photovoltaics

Not all roofs are the same. In the same way that roof forms differ greatly, the dangers concealed during installation and servicing and cleaning tasks on PV systems are just as variable. For this reason, we present solutions for all cases here.

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Specialist series: Absturzsicherung auf PV-Anlagen

Guide for PV systems on the roof

Guide: Fall Protection Photovoltaic (PV)-System

This ultimate fall protection guide will help you to achieve a safe PV system on the roof. In the following, we summarise the danger areas on the roof, the liability issue and the safety solutions in a compact way. In addition, you will learn how you can generate more turnover as a solar installer.


Elektro Scherer puts its trust in the TAURUS rail system from INNOTECH

In its practical implementation, the roof installation of PV systems together with their associated fall protection repeatedly creates specific challenges. In the case of Elektro Scherer, a TAURUS rail system from INNOTECH was attached directly to the K2 substructure of the solar power plant.


How roof surfaces can be optimally used for the planned PV installation

With regard to PV installations on roofs, the question of competition for area often arises. This refers to competition between various types of use for the available area. The reason is that in principle all PV system operators want to free up the maximum possible amount of space for their solar power plant.


Why should you, as PV installers, also offer the fall protection system?

We invited experts to a discussion on the subject of fall protection for PV systems on flat and pitched roofs. In this blog post we go into the most frequently asked questions related to this topic.


Individual or collective protection? Which system is used when for PV installations on a roof?

While dangers like break-throughs or an increased fall risk close to the roof edge lurk on a flat roof, on a pitched roof the inclination itself is the greatest challenge. Discover in the following article how you can professionally protect your maintenance and cleaning staff.


A professional safety concept for PV installations protects the wallet and the nerves

As a solar system installer, you naturally know every detail of the legal safety provisions relating to PV systems on a roof. In contrast, your clients may well be entering completely new territory which probably raises a number of additional questions. It is therefore all the more important from the outset to integrate the subject of safety into the planning of the PV system, and to create a substantiated and professional safety concept.


Successful solar system installers are those who offer PV fall protection at the same time

Solar system installers who, in addition to the optimally appropriate PV systems, can also provide the best possible fall protection, not only have a better image than their competitors – they can also use this to create increased turnover.


Safety increases business for solar system installers as full service providers

PV systems on the roof have been booming for quite some time. No wonder, because having your own solar power plant on the roof not only gives you much more independence in terms of energy supply, but also makes a significant contribution to the energy transition as a whole. If you also focus on the issue of safety on the roof, then as a solar installer you can leave the competition behind. In this article, you will discover how you can achieve this.

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Supporting multiple PV customers simultaneously can often become a huge challenge

Not only private households, but also businesses and companies, are relying increasingly on generating their own solar energy. The presently escalating energy prices will hasten this trend even further. For solar system installers, this creates enormous potential for winning new orders. It can then very easily happen that multiple projects or construction sites have to be managed simultaneously. And that creates a number of challenges.


Work on a PV system on a roof

Installing one’s own PV system on a roof makes sense for a number of reasons. So that it always provides the best possible performance, workers regularly have to access the solar power plant in order to perform servicing and cleaning tasks. Who is responsible or liable for the consequences of accidents?


PV systems on a roof – consider all danger areas, in order to protect against falls effectively

The circumstances and conditions of every single order for a PV system on a roof must always be analysed very closely, in order to implement the correct safety precautions. Solar system installers who recognise all risks and can at the same time also propose the appropriate professional and certified solution to their customers have the opportunity to position themselves as a responsible absolute expert in their area. In the medium and long term, this also has a positive effect on the sales performance of solar system installers.


6 tips which help solar system installers to gain increased turnover from their PV installations on roofs

Even if the connection isn’t obvious at first glance, solar system installers and PV installation companies can acquire significantly more new customers with a partner who is a certified and professional manufacturer of fall protection systems for PV installations on roofs. The reason why is very simple: They are able to cover the subject of safety in the very first meeting with the customer, thereby relieving their potential clients of a large amount of research work.


Subsequent installation of a fall protection system for PV installations on the roof

It is never too late to make the right decisions and implement them! This means that even operators of PV installations on the roof should consider whether the subsequent upgrade of their solar power plant with a professional and certified fall protection system is feasible and sensible.


360° solutions as a guarantee for success

Solar system installers capable of including a safety solution with their PV systems hold a clear edge over the competition. You can find out why this is the case in the following article.


4 steps are necessary for professional fall protection on the PV system on the roof

Discover all the necessary information here. In this article, we explain in summary the four steps that will lead you to your fall protection for PV systems. This much in advance, everything starts with a plan...


The right fall protection creates more space for the PV system

Here is an example from practice. ADREX relies on its proven one-stop-shop principle, in order to largely relieve its customers of all tasks related to their own roof-mounted solar power plants. This obviously also includes the selection and installation of a professional fall protection system for the PV installation.


Correct servicing and inspection of your PV fall protection system protects you from many problems

The fall protection for your PV system on a roof is 100% safe only if it is also inspected regularly for signs of potential wear and tear, damage, or corrosion, and for loose mounts. Discover what matters.


The professional way to install a fall protection system for your PV system on the roof

The detailed planning of the fall protection system for your PV system on the roof is followed by what is probably the most tantalising moment of the endeavour to make your solar power plant as safe and efficient as possible: the installation; the project is finally taking concrete shape. Discover what matters in the process.


The installation of a fall protection system for your PV system on the roof requires a certain amount of expertise!

The same rules that apply in all other areas of life and work also hold true in the area of fall protection systems for PV systems installed on a roof: Solid initial and further training are of pivotal importance, especially when it comes to the correct installation and proper servicing / cleaning of the system and its individual solar panels.


The aspects to focus on when planning a fall protection system for the PV system on your roof

The goal to harvest as much power as possible from your own solar power plant therefore hinges on the ability to maximise the utilisation of the roof surface, while securing the trouble-free operation of the solar power plant for the long term. This requires a comprehensive plan which factors in all details and also includes a professional system that protects against falls from a height.


Fall protection systems for your PV system installed on the roof

There are questions that come up again and again when it comes to the safety of PV systems on the roof. We have summarised the 6 most frequently asked questions by installers and solar technicians and also show the challenges of PV systems on flat and pitched roofs. The focus is always on possible safety solutions to mitigate these.


PV systems on a flat roof can be efficient and safe at the same time

In the examination of current practice below, we show you two individual solutions for flat roofs, together with the respective challenges which may be created by one’s own solar power plant. Discover the TAURUS rail system and the AIO lifeline system using Autohaus Nägele & Sohn GmbH and Autowelt Reibersdorfer as examples.


5 tips relating to your PV system on the roof

How to save time and money. Installing a photovoltaic system on your own roof is always a good idea, because in this way a previously completely unused surface is availed of for the sustainable production of electricity for your household or company. But so that this success story really comes into being, as early as the planning phase of your PV system you should also create a professional safety concept, or get one created.


Professional fall protection for your PV system on pitched roofs

Installation tasks on the photovoltaic system, as well as its servicing and cleaning, represent a particular challenge. An selection of possible security solutions including advantages can be discovered in the following article. In addition, the topic of access to the PV system on the pitched roof is also covered.


Fall protection photovoltaics

Not all roofs are the same. In the same way that roof forms differ greatly, the dangers concealed during installation and servicing and cleaning tasks on PV systems are just as variable. For this reason, we present solutions for all cases here.

All the systems which we provide are tested and certified in combination with each other and with the PV system!

Selina Bauchinger

While on flat roofs the main areas to be correctly secured are those close to the roof edge as well as skylights, the whole of a pitched roof is a workplace with high fall risk, because of the sometimes very steep inclination. One brief moment of inattention have serious consequences. And that’s what has to be prevented – in the interest of the employees and those responsible. In this post you will find the most current situations from practice, all of which bring their own unique challenges.  


The route onto the roof and to the photovoltaic system

Ideally, permanently anchored and appropriately secured access points or permanently installed stepladders with guardrails exist for accessing the roof or PV system. However, in practice this best-case scenario unfortunately tends to be the exception. Much more often, the situation is diametrically opposed: simple ladders, or unsecured roof hatches or roof windows, have to be used for the ascent to the“PV system” workplace. Generally the installers, solar technicians, and servicing and cleaning workers also have tools or installation and cleaning materials with them, and so one hand is not free – another handicap which must not be underestimated. If the transition to the roof also has to be made from an unstable simple ladder leaning against the roof edge, then that is the absolute worst case. And for this it makes little difference whether the roof is flat or pitched.

It is hugely important that the first anchorage device is in immediate proximity to the ascent aid, such as the simple ladder, and is easily accessible for the respective worker. He/she is then able to secure himself/herself appropriately, even before transitioning to the roof. This is of decisive importance for pitched roofs above all, because of their inclination, as there are often no safe tread surfaces after the transition.  Roof hatches or roof windows are also used as access points on the roof, and they thus form the transition between the safe and unsafe areas. Here too, the first anchorage devices must be positioned to be easily accessible for servicing and cleaning workers.

5 Fakten um Ihre Photovoltaik Anlage Sicher zu machen

On the roof and at the PV system

It is completely understandable: Operators of PV systems wish to fit the maximum surface area of solar panels onto their roofs, in order to generate the maximum amount of solar energy. However, this also means that little space is left to access the PV system for cleaning and servicing tasks.


Problems of PV systems on a flat roof

For the workers to perform their tasks on a flat roof, only very narrow strips are therefore generally available, and these are directly adjacent to the fall edge and in the areas around skylights. These areas of particular danger with increased fall risk must therefore be protected by a professional, certified solution.


Problems of PV systems on a pitched roof

The problem of space becomes even more acute on a pitched roof. In addition to the danger of a vertical fall from the roof edge, in this case the inclination in itself represents a huge potential danger. It can be sufficient to lose one’s balance briefly – anyone who slips on a pitched roof is generally unable to stop themselves. This dangerous workplace too requires a professional safety concept.


In both situations – on a flat roof and on a pitched roof – the following applies: installers and solar technicians, or servicing and cleaning personnel, must be able to access all areas of the PV system without problems and, above all, in safety. In this regard, the margins of the PV system represent the greatest challenge, because they are generally located in immediate proximity to fall edges.  


Installation of PV systems on existing roofs

Nowadays the PV system on the roof generally forms part of the planning for new builds. However, for any building built several decades ago or earlier (and this is the usual case) where the wish is one’s own solar power plant on the roof, a retrofit will have to be performed. But this means that installers and solar technicians come up against potential obstacles such as chimneys, skylights, and smoke extraction or air-conditioning systems whose locations are fixed. This requires enormous flexibility when it comes to adapting the PV system to the existing roof geometry. And to achieve the optimum result, the safety solutions must also be capable of being adapted. In this regard, INNOTECH provides a versatile range of fall protection systems. This runs from high-quality rail systems to the most up-to-date lifeline systems, guardrail systems, anchorage devices and personal protective equipment, to a combination of all solutions with each other.

The systems are tested and certified beyond the requirements of the standard, including combination with the substructure of the PV system. In contrast, our competitors sometimes provide only single solution approaches, for example just a lifeline system or a solution using a single anchor point. For installers and customers, this means that they are unable to rely on a wide range of solutions. Depending on the situation, a comprehensive safety solution for PV systems can frequently consist of a combination of individual solutions, e.g. additional single anchor points together with a rail or lifeline system. Here it is important to ensure that all these systems or components create a safe integral system. All the systems which we provide are tested and certified in combination with each other and with the PV system – in other words, 100% safe! The retrofitting of solar power plants on a roof, or the protection of solar panels separate from the main system can be implemented optimally in this way.

5 Fakten um Ihre Photovoltaik Anlage Sicher zu machen

Meaning of certification

Practice has demonstrated that merely certifying the fall protection system on its own is usually insufficient, especially when it is permanently attached to the substructure of the PV system, and for many INNOTECH models this is often the case, for the reasons of space and safety described above. Only when the substructure of the solar power system is tested IN COMBINATION with the fall protection system can it be ensured that in an emergency the loads generated can also be absorbed, and that working on the roof is really safe. Some fall protection systems on the market for PV systems promise safety which they are unable to deliver in an emergency. This is because they were not in fact thoroughly tested, i.e. in combination with the PV substructure. 

In that case, the installer or solar technician has to test whether the substructure for the fall protection system has sufficient strength to dissipate the forces in the event of a fall. For most customers this represents a problem which is virtually insoluble. One thing is certain: However good a fall protection system is, it cannot fulfil its purpose unless the substructure to which it is attached can withstand the load. All the safety solutions which we provide fulfil all regulations and standards. In addition, installers and solar technicians benefit from the INNO|doc tool, with which they can digitally perform the mandatory documentation of the installation of the fall protection system. In addition we also undertake directly the training of installers and solar technicians, in order to ensure the correct and professional installation of the respective safety solution.


Illusion of safety

If just one of the points above has been implemented incorrectly or not at all, specialists call this the illusion of safety. In this case, the fall protection system installed causes customers, installers and solar technicians, or servicing and cleaning workers to feel that they are on safe ground, but in an emergency they may in fact be given a very tough lesson to the contrary. This is because it takes a fall to show whether the structure is able to withstand the load. That is dicing with death on the roof. And that is extremely problematic in many ways. Falls generally entail serious injuries which result in extended time off work for the employees involved. If an investigation of the circumstances which led to the fall indicates that those responsible were negligent, then this can naturally also have legal consequences.


Summary: Solution approaches fall protection photovoltaic systems

There are numerous different roof forms onto which PV systems have been installed, and these have to be serviced and cleaned regularly. However, there is a basic difference between flat and pitched roofs. On both roof types, PV systems may require very specific safety concepts, in order to mitigate the potential danger of the workplace and to protect employees. But in addition, obstacles on the roof always create challenges in terms of safety, although it is generally simple to master them by using a professional fall protection system. The important thing here is that the PV system and the safety system are tested and certified in combination. Otherwise a condition arises which nobody desires: The illusion of safety!

Contact us immediately for further information! We will be very happy to support you in selecting the right fall protection for your PV system – regardless whether it’s installed on a flat or a pitched roof. You want to make your PV system safe and efficient? Then don't miss our 5 facts about professional fall protection!

5 Fakten um Ihre Photovoltaik Anlage Sicher zu machen