No matter how tall a building is, the roof remains to be one of the riskiest spots. In fact, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, falls account for 36.5% of fatalities in construction sites alongside electrocutions (8.6%), caught-ins or caught-betweens (2.5%), and being struck by objects (10.1%).
Professional roofers deploy fall protection systems to minimize the possibility of these untoward incidents from happening. This is why you should make sure that your building is equipped with systems that can help reduce work-related falls.
Aside from preventing accidents during roofing services, fall protection systems also help secure the safety of HVAC service providers and inspectors, as well as comply with OSHA standards. You can make sure that your building is safe for workers, inspectors, and occupants alike.
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What is the OSHA?
The OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a government agency dedicated to ensuring safe and healthful conditions for workers by implementing standards and regulating workplaces to make sure they are compliant.
The agency also provides educational support and compliance assistance for workplaces and structures. To make sure that every workplace would be up to standard, the agency released a set of standards for commercial and industrial building roofs to prevent fall-related incidents.
Here, you can learn about the fundamental guidelines for buildings, especially those concerning edges, skylights, and hatches. This can help you make sure that your roofing contractor complies with fall safety measures and protocols before finalizing any deals.
What are OSHA Guidelines on Fall Protection Systems?
Commercial roofers are always subject to routine assessments carried out by in-house and third-party inspectors to ensure that their services are up to standards and compliant with regulations.
The main purpose of these guidelines and inspections is to minimize the possibility of accidents, find potential dangers, provide helpful feedback, and guarantee compliance with OSHA standards.
Focus Near Edges
Commercial and industrial buildings should make sure that they have regulation-compliant railings at the edges. While working, OSHA says that the rail height should be 39 to 45 inches above the working or walking level.
Keep in mind that in workplaces where workers use elevation devices such as stilts, it is necessary to increase the guardrail height.
Buildings should also have roof davits or anchors so that workers and inspectors can attach safety cords when doing their jobs. Such equipment should be placed at different places near the edge to make sure that these professionals have different attachment points.
When talking about safety during roof work, it is important to note that skylights are considered holes or openings under the OSHA guidelines because domes or glass coverings on these are not strong enough to support a person.
Workers on roofs with skylights that are over six feet above ground should build guardrails or install fall protection screens to minimize the possibility of accidental falling.
Don’t Forget Hatch Railings
Aside from these essential roof parts and installations during and after any construction, you also need to make sure that you have a railing system around roof access hatches. These hatches act as a door to access your roof, especially flat ones.
If you are hiring contractors to do any type of work on your roof with an access hatch, it should have a railing system including a grab bar to help workers get up on the roof. The railing system would serve as an attachment mechanism for worker’s cords for safety.
More Fall-Related OSHA Guidelines
Besides guidelines concerning edges, skylights, and hatches, the OSHA also requires other equipment and mechanisms that could help prevent falls.
Install Safety Nets and Covers
Safety nets are required for roof projects to minimize work-related accidents such as falling and getting struck by falling objects. These nets should be no more than 36 square inches and installed no lower than 30 feet below roof working or walking levels.
Regular inspections are also required to minimize accidents and to make sure that the nets and their installation are compliant.
Have Personal Fall Arrest Systems
Commercial roofers should have personal fall arrest (PFA) systems that can prevent individuals from falling. This is typically composed of an anchor mechanism, a body harness, a connector, and a lifeline. The main purpose of this is to help workers attach themselves to a secure anchor, so they do not fall over completely in case of accidents.
Safety-Monitoring and Warning-Line Systems
Safety monitoring and warning-line systems are important to prevent contractors from meeting serious incidents. It is important to have a safety monitor or a worker assigned to recognize hazards, warn workers, and determine unsafe practices.
Meanwhile, warning-line systems are also essential to visually warn workers of fall hazards. These are usually made up of ropes, chains, wires, and supporting poles.
What Happens to Non-Compliant Buildings?
All commercial roofing contractors and the buildings they are working on should follow OSHA regulations. It is not advisable to allow workers to work on your roof without ensuring that the workplace is up to standards.
If you are planning on having roofing work done and you are thinking of not following OSHA regulations, just know that you will need to pay a fine. You will also have an insurance issue on your hands, especially if a worker gets injured, fatal or otherwise.
As a building owner, you should see to it that you comply with OSHA standards despite it making a dent in your finances.
Our Commitment to Roofing Safety
A-One Construction is dedicated to roofing safety. We are committed to roof safety training, injury prevention, and overall accountability, which is why we implement protective measures for our projects and compliance with other workers.
Learn More About Fall Hazards and Protection Equipment
We take pride in investing in our workers’ safety and clients’ protection. You can learn more about fall protection and roof safety by getting in touch with us. Fill out the contact form to find commercial roofing services near you.