Working in the construction industry can be dangerous and unfortunately, falls are a leading cause of death for construction workers. Each year, hundreds are roofers are killed and thousands are injured due to falls. Fall accidents can be prevented if employers work diligently to provide the right prevention equipment and implement a proper fall prevention plan.
Fall Protection, OSHA Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires roofing employers to meet standards for fall protection and equipment requirements. The following are categories of fall protection employers must have for workers that will be exposed to vertical drops of six feet or more.
Fall Arrest System
A fall arrest system is needed anytime a worker is performing construction work at six feet or higher. This system allows workers to perform their work at riskier heights and in the event they fall, the system will prevent them from coming into contact with the ground.
Fall Restraint System
A fall restraint system is used to stop a worker from reaching an unprotected surface when they lose their footing.
A guardrail system is placed around a hazard, such as a roof opening for example, to protect workers from falls.
A positioning system allows workers to work with both hands free on a vertical surface and stops a fall within 2 feet of contact. A worker’s fall is much shorter and they will land feet first.
A suspension system is another system that allows workers to work hands-free, but should also be used with a primary fall arrest system.
A retrieval system is used to rescue workers attached to the worker prior to entering a space or climbing and raises or lowers the worker to safety after a fall.
Are You in Compliance?
Complying with OSHA fall protection standards will reduce the occurrence of injuries and fatalities on your jobsite. Furthermore, meeting OSHA standards will help you avoid a citation and accompanying penalties that come with violating standards. The following are ways to cooperate with OSHA regulations:
- Create a fall protection plan
- Read equipment instructions
- Pay attention warnings
- Inspect equipment before each use
- Train employees to use fall protection equipment
- Use equipment that meets local, state, and federal standards
- Select the right equipment and compatible parts
- Implement a rescue plan to handle falls if and when they happen
When reviewing your company for compliance, ask yourself if your fall protection plan is complete, effective, and enforced. Remember, strive to eliminate risks, guard the hazard, and protect your workers.
If you would like to speak with a roofing attorney, please contact us at 813.579.3278, or submit our contact request form.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.