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Selecting Roof Safety Equipment for Your Jobsite

Roofers encounter a number of hazards on the job, including but not limited to hazards associated with working at heights, power tools, hazardous substances, electricity, and noise. From 2003 to 2013, falls accounted for 3,500 fatalities in the construction industry, with 1,200 fatalities resulting from falls from roofs. In order to protect your workers, it is crucial to provide roof safety equipment.  

In this article, a roofing lawyer in Illinois will discuss the different types of roof safety equipment available for your jobsite, which equipment is best suited to fit your needs, and how you can ensure that your equipment is compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. 

Related: 7 Varieties of Roof Safety Systems

Know Your Roof Type and Standard

An important component of deciding what equipment is necessary for your jobsite is determining what type of roof you will be working with, as there are different OSHA standards for roof safety systems associated with different types of roofs. 

  • Low-Slope Roofs: For low-slope roofs with unprotected sides and edges six feet or more above lower levels, workers must be protected by safety net systems, guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of warning line systems and another type or roof safety system. 
  • Steep Roofs: For steep roofs with unprotected sides and edges six feet or more above lower levels, workers must be protected by safety net systems, guardrail systems with toeboards, or personal fall arrest systems. 

In order to be compliant with OSHA standards and ensure the protection of their workers, employers should know the pitch of the roof they are working on and ensure that the proper material, equipment, and trained workers are available. 

Related: OSHA Fall Protection

Choose the Correct Equipment

Active fall protection in the construction industry can be broken up into four basic categories: fall arrest, positioning, suspension, and retrieval. Employers are required to provide workers with protective equipment which falls under one of these four categories and complies with OSHA standards for that category. Here is more information on each of these categories:

  • Fall Arrest: Fall arrest systems are used to arrest a fall from a drop of 6 feet or more. Fall arrest equipment most commonly consists of a body harness, connectors, anchor point, and vertical or horizontal lifeline. 
  • Positioning systems: Positioning systems allow for the worker to be held in place while performing work with both hands. This type of protection is designed to be used in conjunction with a fall arrest system when necessary, such as harnesses and body belts.
  • Suspension systems: Suspension systems allow for a hands-free work environment by lowering and supporting the worker. Similar to positioning systems, suspension systems require the use of a fall arrest system.
  • Retrieval Systems: Retrieval systems are used to retrieve and rescue workers who have fallen into danger. A retrieval system lowers and pulls the workers into places to perform work and removes the workers out of places in post-fall scenarios. 

Related: Roof Safety Equipment

Failure to provide the adequate safety equipment for your jobsite can end up costing you hefty fines and exposing you to potential lawsuits. In order to maintain the safety of your jobsite and workers alike, you should provide the appropriate roof safety equipment and roofing insurance in the event that someone is injured on your jobsite. If you are currently facing an OSHA citation for failing to comply with roof safety equipment standards, it is crucial that you contact one of our attorneys who understands OSHA regulations and can assist you with any of your legal roofing needs. 

If you would like to speak with a roofing attorney in Illinois regarding roofing insurance, please contact us today.

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.

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