Fall Protection 101 for Your Commercial or Industrial Roof

June 10, 2014

Implementing countermeasures and fall protection systems to protect employees and contractors as they traverse the roof not only provides a safer working environment, but also demonstrates compliance with OSHA regulations.

OSHA has standards in both the General Industry regulations (1910.23) and the Construction regulations (1926.500-1926.503) that mandate and direct the requirements and use of fall protection. Failure to comply with OSHA regulations increases the likelihood of both fines and fatalities.

Areas of the roof that pose the most danger are skylights, roof hatches, and other holes that an individual could fall through, as well as the perimeter edge where an individual could fall off. There are four main types of systems that can be applied to achieve OSHA compliance and prevent fall-related accidents.

  1. Guardrails.
  2. Skylight screens or nets.
  3. Horizontal lifeline system.
  4. Ladder protection.

Guardrails provide a physical barrier around roof hatches, parapet walls, and skylights. While effective, they can impact a facility’s aesthetics. Skylight screens or nets are another passive fall protection product and can prevent individuals from falling through to the level below.

A horizontal lifeline system is comprised of roof anchors and a cable lifeline to which individuals wearing body harnesses connect. While this won’t always prevent a fall, it will reduce the likelihood of an injury or fatality.

Providing permanent ladders at worker points of access and ensuring that they meet OSHA regulations (e.g. ladders with safety cages, wells, etc.) can reduce the likelihood of injuries and fatalities.

Contact us today for a copy of our white paper “The Importance of Permanent Fall Protection Systems.”


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