State law requires construction sites to provide fall protection to roofers, and if these measures are not followed, workers can file a construction injury lawsuit against the negligent party. OSHA continues to recommend conventional fall protection systems within the high-hazard zone. Again, if the work is “infrequent and temporary”, no fall protection is necessary. However, employers must strictly enforce regulations that prohibit workers from exceeding the 15-foot warning lines.
The new rule redefines the safe distances from the edge of the roof and the degree of protection required in the specified footage. But what happens when we get further away? How far away can I be from the roof edge to stop worrying about fall protection? Is there an answer to that question? Meeting OSHA's roof safety requirements doesn't mean your building should look like a construction site. BlueWater offers industry-leading non-penetrating railing systems for fall protection that comply with OSHA regulations in buildings with flat roofs and raised platforms. When it comes to OSHA, there is no safe distance from the edge of a roof, so it must be protected.
The 1926 standard does not specifically mention the distance from the edge of the roof, but again states that for roofing work on low-slope roofs “with unprotected sides and edges at 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above the lower levels they will be protected from falls by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of those systems. Keep in mind that if employees work on equipment, machinery, or any other dangerous hazard into which they may fall, they must have protection for the edges of the roof or machines. To meet OSHA's roof fall protection requirements in the construction industry, employers must provide fall protection to roofers whenever they work at heights of six feet or more above a lower level (29 CFR 1926.501 (b) (). Fortunately, OSHA recognizes the fact that a person who works in the center of a large roof with no reason to leave that work area has very little actual exposure to a fall on the edge of the roof.
Depending on the scenario, the roof can be accessed three or four times a day and, in some situations, access is required at night. If you use a crane or lift, you must apply the 1926 roof fall protection regulations, even if the work is relatively routine. In this situation, railings should be used whenever a possible fall occurs, either on the edge of the roof or in the newly created hole where the air conditioning unit once stood. Two popular fall arrest systems are the fixed option (left) and the single-person cars (right), which weigh more than 700 pounds and can be moved over a large roof area.
Problems can occur when the site administrator follows one set of standards for roof fall protection, while OSHA decides to apply the other. This makes it quite obvious that anyone who is close to the edge of the roof would need PFAS, rails, or some means of fall protection. If you find yourself working on a roof with no warning line, no monitor, no fall arrest system, no rails or nets, you shouldn't be working there.