Collective means of protection

What is collective means protection?

Collective means of protection for work at height are systems such as guardrails, walkways or another type of work platform, serving to prevent falls and which, in short, avoid the use of PPE specifically intended to protect against falls from height.

Why mount collective means of protection?
As established in the regulations and standards, the use of collective means of protection take priority over personal means of protective.

Occupational Risk Prevention Act, 31/1995 expressly establishes that collective means of protection shall take priority over personal ones:

  • Article 15, section h) indicates that “the employer must adopt measures that give priority to collective means of protection over personal means”.
  • In turn, article 17 establishes that "Personal protective equipment must only be used whenever the risks are unavoidable or cannot be sufficiently limited by technical means of collective protection or by work organisation measures, methods or procedures”
Standards and regulations

With regard to collective means of protection there are a number of applicable standards and regulations.


There are many different types of collective means of protection

barandillas sistemas anticaidas protecciones colectivas elytra


What are the applicable standards?

There is a great deal of confusion with regard to the regulations to be applied to guardrails.

As far as regulations are concerned, different criteria are followed for:

  • A guardrail for maintenance work in industrial environments,
  • A guardrail for a public building.
  • A guardrail mounted to prevent unauthorised entry to a construction site.
barandilla elytra

The differences between all these regulations means that, before mounting the appropriate guardrail, the application type must be clearly established.

What standards are applied at Elytra?

ISO 14.122-3 is the applicable industrial standard followed at Elytra.

This standard establishes that:

  • The minimum height  of the guardrail must be 110cm.
  • The spacing between posts cannot be more than 50 cm.
  • If the building has no camber, then it shall be necessary to install a guardrail with toe plate, which shall be at least 10cm high.
  • The maximum spacing between the guardrail uprights or stanchions is 1.5 metres.
  • With regard to load, it must withstand at least 300 Nm.

Guardrail classes

These are the different types of guardrails available at Elytra:

Self-supporting or counter-weighted guardrail

Roof-mounted guardrail

Wall or floor-mounted guardrail

Self-supporting or counter-weighted guardrail

Barandillas autoportantes contrapesadas elytra

This is the most popular type installed by Elytra.
This guardrail can be mounted and installed with no need to drill holes in floors or walls.
This is the best way to ensure that the fixings do not damage the integrity of the roof surface.

Roof-mounted guardrail

Here the guardrail is directly mounted on the sheet metal roofing. It would be complicated to get to the interior structure in order to secure the guardrail stanchions. Therefore, this guardrail can be quickly mounted without compromising on safety.

Wall or floor-mounted guardrail

fijacion a cubierta ELYTRA

This is the most common type of installation. The railing is either secured to the floor (horizontal surface) or to a wall (vertical surface).
This is also the most inexpensive type to install.

With regard to the uprights or stanchions, Elytra offers a range of styles:

Guardrail with straight stanchions

Guardrail with inclined or curved stanchions

Folding guardrail

Guardrail with straight stanchions


This is the most popular type of profile, as it is the most inexpensive option.

Guardrail with inclined or curved stanchions

This model sets back the top railing, so that the guardrail is concealed from view.
This is an interesting option for those projects which seek to protect the aesthetics of the building.

Folding guardrail

This model can be supplied with either inclined, curved or straight stanchions and with the mounting types indicated above. Due to its high price, this model is not often requested.
The reason for installing it is to safeguard the building's aesthetics.

pasarelas elytra seguridad protecciones colectivas


In the case of walkways, in addition to the provisions of section 2 of the above-mentioned ISO 14.122, there is also another standard, namely EN 516, that regulates prefabricated accessories for roofing, and which also covers walkways.

EN ISO 14.122-3


With regard to the walkways regulated in the same standard EN 14.122-3 it should be mentioned that:

  • Minimum width of the walkway:
    • At least: 600 mm.
    • Recommended: 800 mm.
    • If used by a number of people together: 1000mm.
  • Minimum height of the platform up to the ceiling: 2100 mm.
  • If the fall height from the platform to the floor is more than 500 mm, then bodyguards (guardrails) must be installed.
  • With regard to the flooring, it must:
    • Self-draining, to avoid slippery puddles.
    • The change in height between elements must not be greater than 4 mm.

EN 516


Due to the application for which the walkways are installed, there must be steps that can be adjusted according to the pitch of the roof.

The standard also differentiates between:

  • Class 1: Installations that cannot be used as anchorage points.
  • Class 2: installations that can be used as anchorage points with the fall.

Due to the existence of this class, the resistance demands set out in this standard are stricter than those indicated in ISO 14.122-3. The standard also defines the conditions for walkways equipped with anchorage points, although no mention is made of the guardrails.

With regard to the platform width, walkways on roofing are narrower, and should be at least 400 mm.

Types of walkways

So, based on the application and the place of installation, walkways could be one of two types. Classes.

Walkways with guardrails

The most complete solution. There is the option to install guardrails on one or both sides.
The walkway could be flat, or it could have steps, based on pitch.

Walkways with fall protection systems


It is not always practical to mount walkways with guardrails on both sides. There will be times when, as well as moving along the platform, other points need to be reached.
In this event, it is more logical to work with fall protection systems.

Concepts about fall protection systems