Rooftop Safety Systems
Rooftops can be hazardous areas if the correct safety systems are not in place. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Organizations that prioritize safety should utilize fall prevention methods to protect employees and contractors and eliminate accidents. At Houck, we understand safety. In fact, it’s integral to everything we do. We can install rooftop safety systems on industrial and commercial buildings to enhance safety and minimize risk.
Meeting OSHA Fall Protection Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued multiple standards concerning fall prevention. OSHA requirements are determined by the type of work and the environment in which it is performed. depends on factors like the work being done and the potential fall hazards present. In the general industry, OSHA requires fall protection at any elevation 4 feet or more above the ground surface. In the construction industry, fall protection must be provided at elevations of 6 feet or more.
OSHA has specific rooftop fall protection requirements, which depend on whether workers are on a low-slope roof, with a pitch 4:12 or less, or on a steep roof with a slope that exceeds 4:12. Requirements may also include a combination of safety measures such as a warning line system paired with a personal fall arrest system or a guardrail system.
At Houck, we are well-versed in OSHA requirements, and our company is recognized by industry peers and organizations for our proven commitment to safety. We can help building owners and property managers stay OSHA-compliant, maintain safety, avoid fines, legal fees and workers’ compensation claims by installing the necessary rooftop safety systems.
The Importance of Installing Rooftop Safety Systems
Rooftop safety systems are helpful for several reasons. In addition to ensuring you comply with OSHA requirements, installing these systems can help you:
- Provide steadier footing: Walkway systems can help workers maintain balance and traction more effectively. Safety systems of all types can also help workers feel steadier and less anxious knowing they’re protected.
- Prevent falls from heights: Falls from heights can be serious and even fatal. The most important focus at any facility should be safety, and the right protection measures can help ensure that.
- Close off hazards: Though fall protection is primarily used when working from tall heights, some safety systems also help workers avoid hazards that are closer, such as open hatches, holes or surface edges.
- Protect the roof surface: An added benefit of some systems is that they can help protect the roof’s surface from damage that may otherwise be caused by foot traffic.
- Safeguard people below: Rooftop snow rail or guard systems can also protect the public below.
Types of Roof Safety Systems
There are many types of roof safety systems. Each system offers its own applications and advantages. Some popular safety system types Houck can install include:
- Flagging or warning system: A warning system consisting of flagged lines around the perimeter of the roof can ensure workers will not inadvertently approach unprotected roof edges. These systems are not meant to be a physical barrier but serve as a visual signal to workers. They can be permanent setups, so any time someone is on the roof, the safe working areas will be visible.
- Rooftop walkway systems: Walking on a roof without a proper walkway can be hazardous and could damage the roof. Rooftop walkway systems, stairways, ramps, and level walkways allow workers to access and navigate rooftop areas safely. These systems also protect the roof’s surface.
- Rooftop horizontal lifelines: These systems consist of a cable that is mechanically fastened to sections of the roof. Workers wear harnesses that connect to the cable via a tether. The system allows the workers to move freely along the lifeline at a safe distance from the edge.
- Tie-off anchors: Another type of tethering system is a tie-off anchor setup. In this case, though, workers are connected to a single anchor point that is permanently fastened to the roof system. These are effective roof fall protection systems, especially when work must be completed near the roof edge. However, they are typically designed for a single worker, unlike horizontal lifelines, which can accommodate multiple workers.
- Roof hatch systems: Hatches provide convenient roof access, but they are also potential fall hazards. Roof hatch railing systems come in various styles but all have the same purpose — to surround the perimeter of the roof hatch to prevent falls through the opening. These systems also add the benefit of an additional point of contact when accessing the roof.
- Skylight cages or screens: Skylights can also be a hazard since they aren’t designed to hold heavy weight loads. Various roof safety systems are designed specifically for skylights, including screens and cages. These systems are installed over rooftop skylights to protect the skylights from snow load weight and provide a visual indicator for anyone on the roof. They’re especially helpful when skylights are not easily visible due to snow accumulation.
- Roof guardrails: Guardrails are a crucial safety measure for rooftops. They tend to be permanent systems, some of which are penetrating while others feature a non-penetrating weighted system. You can install guardrails around the entire perimeter of a roof or in specific areas as needed. For example, guardrails are ideal for hemming in rooftop units that need to be serviced but are located too close to the roof’s edge to access without fall protection.
- Snow rail systems: Some roof safety systems are designed specifically with ground traffic in mind. That is the case with snow rail systems, which prevent accumulated snow and ice from sliding off of a sloped roof, potentially injuring people below.
Choose Houck for Rooftop Safety and Fall Protection Systems
For nearly three-quarters of a century, Houck has been a trusted industrial and commercial contractor serving the mid-Atlantic region. We can provide comprehensive roofing and roof maintenance services, which include installing safety systems on rooftops to ensure safety. We always exercise caution and follow OSHA regulations in all our operations. No matter what roofing services you need, Houck is a partner you can trust. Contact us today.