Falls are one of the most common critical injuries and causes of death in workplaces. According the The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) Data Center study, falls from roofs accounted for one-third of fall-related construction fatalities from 1992-2009 with a disproportionately high percentage (67%) of deaths from roof falls occurring in small construction establishments. Most of these falls have occurred because fall protection was not in place. This is why prevention strategies should be in place to not only protect high risk worker groups but prevent further accidents from occurring to the rest of the individuals working within the construction industry.
When it comes to safety on rooftops, most immediately think of guardrails around the roof, restraint mechanisms, or fall arrest equipment. While these are all elements that influence the safety of the roof, what many people fail to consider is how preventative measures for falls actually start before approaching the roof.
Before climbing to the roof, you need to ensure that you have the appropriate personal protective equipment. This should include (but not limited to) – gloves, eye protection, and potentially a respirator.
The next step is ensuring that you have an observer or an assistant when accessing a roof. This person should be able to communicate with you at all times and if applicable, be able to also see you. Since the roof can be a dangerous place, you want to ensure that someone knows you are going to be on it and how long you intend to be up there. The last thing you want is to climb up and be stuck or need help and can’t access it.
Once you have your communicative partner enlisted, next is to consider the safety of the roof access point. Depending on the height of roof and the location of the access point, it may be restricted by a door or will require a second ladder to access it. Subject to the total climb height, the ladder may or may not have a safety cage. If the ladder height exceeds 20’ then according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a safety cage is required.
After assessing the ladder to make sure it meets regulations, next you must consider the safety of the roof. While the safety of the workers is always a top priority for organizations, OSHA has guidelines for worker safety that companies should regularly review and ensure that the products they buy adheres to it. Design Components Inc.’s METALWALK® rooftop walkway system meets or exceeds all of the OSHA guidelines which makes it a safe option for getting workers around the roof to safely complete a task.
To recap: The most important safety tip to remember is that you must have a dynamic approach when considering rooftop work. The preventative measures should start with the worker learning about safety while on the ground and end with them being able to safely perform their work on the rooftop.
This article was written by CADdetails.com, the leading provider of manufacturer-specific building product information, high-quality CAD drawings, 3D models, BIM files, and projects. You can also check out their design blog Design Ideas for the Built World blog which aims to inspire ideas for design professionals.