Falls from rooftops represent over 42% of deaths in construction. Because falls are the leading cause of workplace fatalities, there is an increased awareness of rooftop fall protection needs. There are a variety of ways to reduce rooftop fall risks. One system to utilize is a rooftop railing system.
Why a rooftop railing system is effective in reducing fall risks
Here is a brief summary of our former blog post dealing with the hierarchy of fall protection for order of control for fall hazards. The list goes from most safe to least safe.
Hazard Elimination: The number one way to reduce fall hazards is to completely eliminate them.
Passive Fall Prevention: Prevent worker from accessing a fall hazard by using a physical barrier.
Fall Restraint Systems: Restrain worker’s range of motion with a lanyard to prevent the worker from reaching a leading edge.
Fall Arrest Systems: Worker has access to a fall hazard, but fall arrest systems minimize the force associated with stopping a fall.
Administrative Controls: Give workers a “heads up” about fall hazards.
First of all, the safer options are closer to the top of the list, compared to the options associated with more risk which are at the bottom of the list. The safest option at the top of the list, hazard elimination, is not always feasible. As a result, the next safest option in the hierarchy is passive fall prevention.
One passive fall prevention physical barrier is a rooftop guardrail safety system. Because guardrail systems provides a physical barrier to prevent workers from accessing a fall hazard, they are critical to minimize fall risks.
Some OSHA regulations to keep in mind
Another consideration is OSHA regulations. To minimize risk and keep your worker’s safe when they are on a roof, there are several OSHA regulations to follow (see OSHA 1926.502).
- If workers are more than six feet above a lower level, there must be a rail to protect them from accidental falls.
- The top of rails needs to be 42 inches, plus or minus 3 inches, from the working surface. As a result, this means the top of the rails needs to be 39 inches to 45 inches from the working surface.
- Safety rails must withstand a force of at least 200 pounds applied within 2 inches in any outward or downward direction.
Guardrail as a rooftop railing system
Because there are a varying workplace needs, we offer a variety of rooftop guardrail railing systems all of which are OSHA compliant. Here is a brief overview of some of the options available.
- 360 Mobile Safety Rail is a freestanding rooftop safety rail system with zero roof penetrations. Each omni-directional base is 104 pounds of cast iron with powder coated safety yellow or galvanized finish. Custom colors are available. Insert a rail section into a base receiver post and secure with a securing pin. This system can be a temporary or permanent rooftop railing system.
- AccuFit Safety Rail, functions like the 360 Mobile Safety Rail, yet offers a design element in which the railing system blends into the rooftop sightline. Three stanchion types include straight, curved, and designer series.
- Metal Roof Guardrail is an AccuFit metal rooftop system available for standing seam as well as for corrugated or R-panel metal roofs.
Finally, guardrail systems are effective and reliable in preventing access to a fall hazard. See our Products page for more information and contact us about your specific needs.