Roof fall protection is a necessity in construction projects, to safeguard the interests of the workers. Ideally, fall protection should be the main component of risk assessment in construction.
Despite the implementation of stringent regulations, the statistics are alarming in terms of the number of casualties due to workers falling from heights, including roofs. Studies have been conducted surrounding these incidents and it has been largely determined that the use of fall protection systems would have prevented them from occurring.
The 5 best roof fall protection systems are the Guardrail systems, Personal fall arrest systems, Safety nets, Safety monitoring systems, and Warning line systems.
Do read on further to find out more about these fall protection systems and how your business can comply with the stipulated rules to ensure the safety of your workers.
Guardrails are stationary systems installed around roof perimeters. They can be temporary or permanent, with fixed specifications and measurements.
Guardrails commonly have a mid-rail, top-rail, and toe boards with evenly spaced vertical posts. Under standard regulations, guardrails must comply with the following requirements:
● Be of adequate height
● Withstand load specifications
● Be installed as close as possible to the open edge
● Be extended along the unprotected edge
● Made of wood and metal, rough surfaces strongly prohibited
Personal Fall Arrest (PFA) Systems
A Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) allows workers to work on roof edges and prevents them from hitting the ground upon falling. It consists of five parts:
● Anchor Point: The metal anchor where the PFAS connects to the roof, with holes for screws or nails. The anchor must be well-secured before being clipped onto the worker.
● Full-Body Harness: The strapping system that the worker wears to be attached to the PFAS. The harness must fit securely around the legs and chest, ensuring even distribution of the impact during a potential fall.
● Lifeline: The rope connecting the rope grab and lanyard to the anchor point and harness.
● Rope Grab: Metal clamps connecting the lanyard and lifeline.
● Lanyard: A shock-absorbing system that diminishes the impact of a fall; an essential safety measure
Safety nets are a passive fall protection system used as a barrier to prevent a fall or suspended beneath a roof to catch workers who fall. They are webbed and mesh systems comprising natural and synthetic fibers.
Safety nets must follow guidelines in terms of material, load to withstand, testing frequency, and how they should be set up.
Safety Monitoring Systems
Safety monitoring systems use a person (safety monitor) to inform workers when they are in danger of falling off roofs narrower than 50 feet.
Warning Line Systems
A barrier or rope is erected on a roof to warn workers when they are approaching an unprotected roof edge of roofs wider than 50 feet. Workers must still be protected by either the guardrail, safety net, or PFA system.
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