Experimental Analysis of Guardrail Structures for Occupational Safety in Construction

Diniane Baruffi1, *, Marcelo Fabiano Costella2, Zacarias Martin Chamberlain Pravia3
1 Universidade Regional Integrada do Alto Uruguai e das Missões, Erechim, Brazil
2 Community University of Chapecó Region – Unochapecó, Chapecó, Brazil
3 Universidade de Passo Fundo, Passo Fundo, Brazil

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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Baruffi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Universidade Regional Integrada do Alto Uruguai e das Missões, Erechim, Brazil; E-mail:



Guardrails are structures that protect workers from falling from heights at construction sites.


The objective is to evaluate experimental models by applying static and impact loads to wood and steel guardrails.


Brazilian and international standards were consulted to define the actions applied to guardrails, which were tested experimentally in three models of each material in a full-size prototype.


The experimental results indicate that the models studied could support the applied loads, and no local or global system rupture occurred. However, the displacements for the static load of 1500 N/m required by Brazilian RTP 01 for both models did not comply with Brazilian standard NBR 14718 because they had displacements above 20 mm, despite meeting other international standards for static testing and impact testing.


From the results obtained in the experimental tests, it was possible to verify that the structures withstood the applied loads and could be used safely in civil construction works. However, the load requirements of RTP 01 are excessive, and NBR 14718 is not suitable for checking temporary guardrail structures. This demonstrates the need for the Brazilian standard to be revised to guide the dimensioning and verification of structures in order to adapt to international standards.

Keywords: Guardrails, Fall protection, Building, Experimental tests, Construction sites, Workers.