Working on the roof of a building can be a dangerous task, and it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure safety. Recent changes in OSHA regulations have once again highlighted roof safety issues, and it is important to understand what type of protection is needed when working on a roof. A steep roof has a slope of more than 4 inches (vertical to horizontal). According to OSHA, fall protection systems are required for fixed roof access ladders that are more than 24 feet high.
This could include a self-retracting lifesaver from above, a central cable for a harness, or another strategy. Supporting an extension ladder through the roof hatch is not safe, as explained by Kirk Dighton, safety manager for roof contractor D. Roof hatches and automatic smoke grids sometimes have translucent covers so that they can also function as skylights, according to Steve Weyel, product specialist at roof hatch manufacturer The BILCO Company. People who are engaged in tasks not related to roof construction (for example, a facility manager who works in the rooftop HVAC unit) must respect a 15-foot limit, according to which they need fall protection every time they are within 15 feet of an edge or a fall hazard.
To ensure safety on the roof and comply with OSHA regulations, it is important to consider the following tips:
- Use a self-retracting lifesaver from above or a central cable for a harness when working on fixed roof access ladders that are more than 24 feet high.
- Do not support an extension ladder through the roof hatch.
- Make sure that people who are engaged in tasks not related to roof construction respect the 15-foot limit.
- Consider using passive roof fall protection, such as a railing system.