Fall Protection on Metal Roofs
Personal Fall-Restraint Systems
Unlike the personal fall-arrest system, which is designed to stop a fall, a personal fall-restraint system prevents a worker from reaching an unprotected edge and thus prevents a fall from occurring. The system consists of an anchorage, connectors, and a body harness or a body belt. The attachment point to the body belt or full body harness can be at the back, front, or side D-rings.
The anchorage for a fall-restraint system must support at least 3,000 pounds or be designed and installed with a safety factor of at least two. If you're not sure how much an anchorage will support, have a qualified person evaluate it.
Positioning-device systems make it easier to work with both hands free on a vertical surface such as a wall or concrete form. Positioning-device systems are also called Class II work-positioning systems and work-positioning systems.
Positioning device with self-retracting lanyard Click to enlarge.
The components of a positioning-device system - anchorage, connectors, and body support - are similar to those of a personal fall-arrest system. However, the systems serve different purposes.
A positioning-device system provides support and must stop a free fall within 2 feet; a personal-fall-arrest system provides no support and must limit free-fall distance to 6 feet.
- Anchorage: Positioning-device systems must be secured to an anchorage that can support at least twice the potential impact of a worker's fall or 3,000 pounds, whichever is greater.
- Connectors: Connectors must have a minimum strength of 5,000 pounds. Snap hooks and D-rings must be proof-tested to a minimum load of 3,600 pounds without deforming or breaking.
- Body support: A body belt is acceptable as part of a positioning-device system. However, it must limit the arresting force on a worker to 900 pounds and it can only be used for body support. A full-body harness is also acceptable and must limit the arrest force to 1,800 pounds. Belts or harnesses must have side D-rings or a single front D-ring for positioning. All connectors must have locking features to avoid unclipping.
1. Which of the following systems makes it easier to work with both hands free on a vertical surface such as a wall or concrete form?
a. Personal fall-arrest system (PFAS)
b. Positioning-device system
c. Safety net system
d. Full-body harness system
Is this guardrail properly constructed?
A guardrail system consists of a top rail, midrail, and intermediate vertical member. Guardrail systems can also be combined with toeboards that prevent materials from rolling off the walking/working surface.
Guardrail systems must be free of anything that might cut a worker or snag a worker's clothing. Top rails and midrails must be at least 1/4-inch thick to reduce the risk of hand lacerations; steel or plastic banding cannot be used for top rails or midrails. Other requirements for guardrails:
- Wire rope used for a top rail must be marked at least every 6 feet with high-visibility material.
- The top rail of a guardrail must be 42 plus or minus 3 inches above the walking/working surface. The top-edge height can exceed 45 inches if the system meets all other performance criteria.
- Midrails must be installed midway between the top rail and the walking/working surface unless there is an existing wall or parapet at least 21 inches high.
- Screens and mesh are required when material could fall between the top rail and midrail or between the midrail and the walking/working surface.
- Intermediate vertical members, when used instead of midrails between posts, must be no more than 19 inches apart.
- A guardrail system must be capable of withstanding a 200-pound force applied within 2 inches of its top edge in any outward or downward direction.
- Midrails, screens, and intermediate structural members must withstand at least 150 pounds applied in any downward or outward direction.
2. The top rail or a guardrail must be _____ inches plus or minus _____ inches above the walking/working surface.
a. 42, 3
b. 42, 5
c. 39, 9
d. 49, 3
Safety nets saved lives during Golden Gate Bridge construction.
Safety-net systems consist of mesh nets and connecting components.
- Safety-net openings can't be more than 6 inches on a side, center to center.
- Safety nets must not be installed more than 30 feet below the working surface.
- An installed net must be able to withstand a drop test consisting of a 400-pound sandbag, 30 inches in diameter, dropped from the working surface.
- Inspect safety nets regularly and remove debris from them no later than the start of the next work shift.
The minimum horizontal distance to the net's outer edge depends on how far below the working surface the net is placed.
Minimum Horizontal Distances
|Net's distance below work surface||Minimum horizontal distance from edge of working surface to net's outer edge|
|Up to 5 feet||8 feet|
|5 to 10 feet||10 feet|
|More than 10 feet||13 feet|
3. Safety nets must not be installed more than _____ below the working surface.
a. 10 feet
b. 20 feet
c. 30 feet
d. 40 feet
Warning line system with signage.
A warning-line systems consist of ropes, wires or chains, and supporting stanchions that mark off an area within which work can be done without guardrails, personal fall-arrest systems, restraint systems, or safety nets.
Warning-line systems can only be used for roofing work on roofs that have slopes of 2:12 or less, vertical to horizontal. The purpose of the line is to warn roofers that they are near an unprotected edge.
The warning line must be at least 6 feet from an unprotected edge and meet the following criteria:
- Be flagged at least every 6 feet with high-visibility material.
- Be rigged so that the line is 34 to 39 inches from the walking/working surface.
- Have a minimum tensile strength of 500 pounds. Don't use plastic caution tape for a warning line.
- Be attached to each stanchion so that tension on one section of the line will not cause an adjacent stanchion to tip over. Stanchions must be able to support a force of at least 16 pounds applied horizontally in the direction of the roof edge without tipping over.
Those who do roofing work between the warning line and an unprotected roof edge must be protected with personal fall-arrest systems, restraint systems, guardrail systems, safety monitoring systems, or safety nets.
4. While roofing work is taking place the warning line must be at least _____ from an unprotected edge.
a. 6 feet
b. 10 feet
c. 20 feet
d. 30 feet
Will this alternative fall protection method stop a fall?
Residential Roof Construction
Employees engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels must be protected by guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in 1926.501(b) provides for an alternative fall protection measure.
Exception: When employers can prove that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the following applies:
- Employers and residential contractors are permitted to use alternative methods of fall protection where it is infeasible to use conventional means. Where infeasibility is proven, the contractors can implement a fall protection plan, as specified in section 1926.502(k).
- There is a presumption that it is feasible and will not create a greater hazard to implement at least one of the three fall protection systems mentioned above.
- Employers have the burden of establishing that it is appropriate to implement a fall protection plan for a particular workplace situation, in lieu of implementing guardrail, safety net systems, or fall arrest systems.
5. Employees performing residential construction activities _____ must be protected by fall protection systems.
a. at least 4 feet above ground level
b. 6 feet or more above lower levels
c. over 10 feet above a lower work surface
d. 12 feet or more above the ground
Safety Monitoring for Roofing Work
Safety monitors must not be distracted.
When other fall protection methods are not feasible and a competent person has developed a written plan, safety monitoring systems may be used. This is a method in which a person, rather than a mechanical system, warns workers doing repairs when they are in danger of falling. The monitor, who must be a competent person, is responsible for recognizing fall hazards and warning workers about them. Safety monitoring systems must meet the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1926.502(h).
Safety monitoring can be used only to protect those who do roofing work on roofs that have slopes less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal) and widths no greater than 50 feet. Safety monitoring on roofs wider than 50 feet is not permitted unless a warning-line system also protects the workers.
The safety monitor's responsibilities:
- Recognize fall hazards.
- Warn employees when they are unaware of hazards or aren't working safely.
- Stay on the same walking/working surface as the workers to see them and to communicate with them while they are working.
- Avoid any other work or distracting activity while monitoring the workers.
Only those who are doing roofing work are permitted in the area controlled by the safety monitor. Mechanical equipment can't be used or stored in the area.
6. The safety monitor used during roofing work must be a _____.
a. qualified person
b. competent person
c. member of the AGC
d. registered engineer
A worker fell through this bridge catch platform due to missing planks.
Catch platforms, which consist of a stable platform and an attached standard guardrail, can protect roofers when other systems or methods are not feasible. Platform guidelines:
- The platform should not be more than 18 inches below the eave line of the roof.
- The platform should extend horizontally at least 2 feet beyond the eave line of the roof.
- The platform must have a standard guardrail and toeboard. The top guardrail should rise substantially (at least 12 inches) above the eave line of the roof. Install intermediate rails or a solid barrier between the top rail and the platform to prevent a worker from sliding under the top rail.
Covers for Holes
Simple and effective when they're properly installed, rigid covers prevent workers from falling through skylights or temporary openings and holes in walking/working surfaces.
This skylight was not properly guarded.
Safety criteria for covers:
- Will support at least twice (2 times) the maximum expected weight of workers, equipment, and materials. Skylights are not considered covers unless they meet this strength requirement.
- Are secured to prevent accidental displacement.
- Have full edge bearing on all four sides.
- Are painted with a distinctive color or marked with the word HOLE or COVER.
Fences and Barricades
Fences and barricades are warning barriers, usually made from posts and wire or boards, that keep people away from hazards such as wells, pits, and shafts.
7. Hole covers will support at least _____ times the maximum expected weight of workers, equipment, and materials.
Protecting Workers From Falling Objects
What we have here, is a failure to train.
You need to be aware of those working above or below you. Protect yourself and others from falling objects with one of the following methods:
- Canopies: Make sure canopies won't collapse or tear from an object's impact.
- Toeboards: Toeboards must be least 3½ inches high and strong enough to withstand a force of at least 50 pounds applied downward or outward.
- Panels and screens: If you need to pile material higher than the top edge of a toeboard, install panels or screens to keep the material from dropping over the edge.
- Barricades and fences: Use them to keep people away from areas where falling objects could hit them.
When doing overhand bricklaying, keep materials and equipment (except masonry and mortar) at least 4 feet from the working edge. When doing roofing work, keep materials and equipment at least 6 feet from the roof edge unless there are guardrails along the edge. All piled, grouped, or stacked material near the roof edge must be stable and self-supporting. No amount of precaution will work if employees do not use safe work practices.
8. Toeboards must _____.
a. be made of a water-resistant hardwood
b. not exceed 4 inches high and 2 inches wide
c. be least 3.5 inches high
d. be within 3 inches of a working-surface edge
Check your Work
Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.
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Worker Fatality Investigations
This California Public Health video explains the events that led to a roofing supervisor's death after he fell 30 feet through a warehouse roof skylight onto a floor. Photographs from the fatality investigation are supplemented with scenes recreated by co-workers who were there that day.
What is the maximum permitted free fall for positioning systems? ›
(1) Positioning devices shall be rigged such that an employee cannot free fall more than 2 feet. (2) Positioning device systems shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage, and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service.Which fall protection system must minimize a worker's free fall distance to a maximum of 6 feet? ›
As a general matter, each worker on a walking or working surface 6 feet or more above a lower level must be protected from falling by a guardrail system, a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system.How many feet of free fall does a fall restraint system allow a worker up to _____? ›
Personal fall arrest systems shall be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.83 m) nor contact any lower level. Criteria for selection, use and care of systems and system components.What are the requirements for fall restraint? ›
OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations.What should you never attach a lanyard to? ›
For instance, a lanyard should not be connected between a body belt (or harness) and a deceleration device of the self-retracting type since this can result in additional free fall for which the system was not designed.Does OSHA require fall protection training? ›
Fall hazards. Before any employee is exposed to a fall hazard, the employer must provide training for each employee who uses personal fall protection systems or who is required to be trained as specified elsewhere in this subpart.At what height is a harness required? ›
OSHA requires workers to wear a full-body harness, (one part of a Personal Fall Arrest System) when they are working on a suspended scaffold more than 10 feet above the working surface, or when they are working in bucket truck or aerial lift.How much freefall is acceptable when using a full-body harness and lanyard? ›
Personal fall arrest systems are rigged in such a manner that the employee cannot free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m) or contact a lower level.Do harnesses expire? ›
There is no such thing as a predetermined or mandated expiration date on fall protection harnesses. Neither OSHA nor ANSI have current codes or standards that set a specific time period for taking a harness out of service. Even most manufacturers will not suggest how long a harness will last.What are the 4 types of personal fall protection systems? ›
- Fall Arrest Systems. These systems are used when there is a risk of workers falling 6 feet or more from a working/walking surface. ...
- Positioning Systems. ...
- Retrieval Systems. ...
- Suspension Systems.
What are the four OSHA requirements for fall protection? ›
Anchorage point must support adequate loads. Harness (or body belt for fall restraint or positioning) must be worn as per manufacturer instructions. Connector (lanyard) must be adjusted so worker will not reach the ground below. Free fall distance must never exceed 6 feet.What is the difference between fall protection and fall restraint? ›
In a nutshell, these different fall protection systems each try to protect a worker from fall hazards in a different way. Fall prevention systems aim to passively prevent a fall from happening. Fall restraint systems actively restrain a user from being able to reach an edge or drop-off.What are the three classifications of fall protection? ›
While there are a series of questions you can ask yourself to assess the safety of your team while working at height, there are three different types of fall protection systems: elimination, prevention, and arrest.How long is a fall restraint harness good for? ›
Depending on the industry, it can range from 6 months to 6 years. Some safety harnesses can even last over 10 years depending on the amount of use and the quality of the maintenance and storage it sees.Can you use a body belt for fall restraint? ›
Under §1926.502(d), body belts are not permitted to be used in a personal fall arrest system, and the requirement is not negated by the use of a positioning device that limits any fall to 2 feet.What 4 items do you look for when inspecting a lanyard? ›
What 4 Items Do You Look For When Inspecting A Lanyard? The key elements to look for are lanyard material (webbing, cable or rope), hardware (buckle, ring, snap hook), stitching and label.Does fall restraint need a shock absorber? ›
Yes. A worker can use a shock absorbing lanyard in fall arrest and restraint conditions. In restraint, it will not be possible to generate enough force to activate the shock absorber. Please note: A worker may not use a non-shock absorbing lanyard in a fall arrest application but may use it in restraint.Can you tie off to rebar for fall protection? ›
Never tie off to conduit, plumbing pipe, electrical conductors or similar items. In addition, do not tie to rebar or other composite-type metals. It may look sturdy, but this material does not have the strength to withstand the force of a fall.How often do you need to be trained in fall protection? ›
OSHA mandates that workers exposed to fall hazards must be trained. How often, though? The answer Is clear in the OSHA fall protection regulations. Every two years, you need to provide new fall protection certifications for competent persons.What training does OSHA require every year? ›
The initial training shall be for 24 hours and refresher training shall be for eight hours annually. Employees who have received the initial training required by this paragraph shall be given a written certificate attesting that they have successfully completed the necessary training.”
Is it mandatory for the operator to have fall protection training? ›
The employer must make sure every employee who uses protection equipment is trained by a qualified person in the use, operation, and maintenance of that equipment, and includes training about the fall-protection plan and in emergency procedures if there is a risk of drowning.What is the OSHA death fall height? ›
PROVIDE the right equipment
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Make sure that you have been trained on how to use fall protection devices safely. Tie off yourself with a safety harness when working 3 m (10 ft) or more off the ground or when working with both hands. Ensure that only one person is on a single-width ladder.What is the safe working height without harness? ›
If working with your feet 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above the floor, harnesses shall be used whenever a suitable anchor point is available.What are the two most important things to know for calculating fall clearance? ›
To determine if we have enough clearance, we must add our free fall distance plus deceleration distance, which is the amount of distance before the shock absorbing lanyard begins to slow your fall. Deceleration distance is based on a variety of factors, including: User Weight. Free fall distance.How far will you fall with a 6 foot lanyard? ›
In this case, a 6-foot worker with a 6-foot lanyard would experience a total fall distance of 18.5 feet.How far can you fall in 2 seconds? ›
The first equation shows that, after one second, an object will have fallen a distance of 1/2 × 9.8 × 12 = 4.9 m. After two seconds it will have fallen 1/2 × 9.8 × 22 = 19.6 m; and so on.How often do harnesses need to be certified? ›
Every piece of fall arrest equipment should be inspected and certified at least yearly or more often by a trained and competent person. Keep written records of inspections and approvals.How long can you sit in a harness? ›
Harnesses can become deadly whenever a worker is suspended for duration over five minutes in an upright posture, with the legs relaxed straight beneath the body. This can occur in many different situations in industry.What happens if you hang in a harness too long? ›
Suspension trauma is simply fainting in a harness. It will happen to anyone who is held in an upright position and with their legs immobile. You don't need to be ill, injured, or even in a harness to suffer the condition and if you don't stop its progress, then you will lose consciousness and eventually die.
What is the best system to use for fall protection? ›
Guardrails. Guardrails should be your first choice when it comes to preventing falls. They provide workers with the best protection because, when erected properly, they actually eliminate the fall hazard. With guardrails in place, workers can't fall because there is no open edge.What are the 3 components of a personal fall system? ›
“Personal fall arrest system” means a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body belt or body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these.Which fall protection system is preferred? ›
In order of best to worst, these solutions are: Hazard Elimination, Passive Fall Protection, Fall Restraint, Fall Arrest, and Administrative Controls.What are the ABC of personal fall protection? ›
For years, folks in the fall protection industry have preached the ABC's of personal fall arrest systems: Anchorage, Body Support, and Connecting Devices. This is a great start because the approach has us thinking systematically.What are the two main categories of fall protection systems? ›
Two basic types of fall protection are travel restraint and fall arrest. Both involve wearing a full-body harness. A travel restraint system keeps you from getting too close to an unprotected edge.Is a lanyard a fall protection? ›
A fall arrest lanyard must be used in situations where fall hazards cannot be avoided. Fall arrest lanyards have an energy-absorbing element that, in the event of a fall, reduces the impact force exerted on the wearer's body and the anchoring point.Which fall protection system is more successful in preventing injury from falls? ›
While both offer fall protection, only guardrails and a gate will prevent a fall. Active fall protection is anything that requires active participation from the worker, i.e. using a fall restraint or fall arrest system. But while they both protect the worker, only a fall restraint will prevent a fall.What are the two 2 major types of fall protection harness buckles? ›
Pass-through buckle; and. Quick Connect (QC) buckle.Is a fall harness considered PPE? ›
A common type of PPE is the safety harness, which is combined with some other fall protection element like a shock absorbing lanyard or a self-retracting lifeline.What is the OSHA standard for harnesses? ›
OSHA Fall Protection Requirements
OSHA mandates the use of a safety harness for construction: Any time an employee is six feet or more above the ground and not covered by a safety net or guardrail. When erecting or dismantling scaffolding that has an incomplete handrail system or is higher than ten feet above the ...
Can a self retracting lifeline be used for fall restraint? ›
An SRL is a retracting lanyard used in conjunction with a harness and anchorage point. Workers can use them in fall restraint situations—keeping the worker from approaching an edge or other fall hazards—and fall arrest situations—stopping a falling worker after the fall.Can you use a sling for fall protection? ›
If any component of the rigging system, such as a shackle, wire rope, or synthetic sling was or is used to hoist materials, these components are not be used as part of a fall protection system. If they have not been so used, they may be used as part of a fall arrest system if they meet the criteria in §1926.502.Do you need a rescue plan for fall restraint? ›
It is your responsibility to ensure that a rescue plan is in place. When using fall arrest systems, you (as an employer or building owner) are obliged by law to have a rescue plan in place, which ensures that a worker can be retrieved as soon as possible should he fall.What is the maximum fall distance? ›
Free fall or free fall distance - the distance before the fall arrest system begins to apply force and slow the worker down or arrest the fall. According to OSHA standards, this distance shouldn't be more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) and it depends on lanyard length and where the attachment point is located.What is the maximum permitted free fall for Guardian fall protection SRL Les? ›
Maximum free fall is 6'. SRL may be positioned a maximum 6' above anchor point. Applicable D-ring: Dorsal. Fall Clearance: There must be sufficient clearance below the anchorage connector to arrest a fall before the user strikes the ground or an obstruction.What is the maximum allowable free fall length of a shock absorbing lanyard? ›
A properly selected and installed PFAS does not prevent falls but greatly reduces their impact. Lanyards must be selected to limit free falls to no more than 6 feet and 1,800 pounds of force [CFR 1926.502(d)(16)(ii)].What is the maximum allowed fall distance into a safety net? ›
Safety nets must be installed as close as practicable under the surface on which employees are working, but in no case more than 30 feet below.What is the minimum height for a fatal fall? ›
A more recent study on 287 vertical fall victims revealed that falls from height of 8 stories (i.e. around 90-100 feet) and higher, are associated with a 100% mortality . Thus, a vertical falling height of more than 100 feet is generally considered to constitute a "non-survivable" injury.Which is the best fall control? ›
Studies have shown that the use of guardrail systems, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers, and restraint and positioning device systems can prevent many deaths and injuries from falls.What is the difference between Class A and Class B SRL? ›
Class A: Maximum arresting distance up to 24 inches. Average arresting force not to exceed 1,350 lbs. Class B: Maximum arresting distance up to 54 inches. Average arresting force not to exceed 900 lbs.
Does fall protection expire? ›
There is no such thing as a predetermined or mandated expiration date on fall protection harnesses. Neither OSHA nor ANSI have current codes or standards that set a specific time period for taking a harness out of service. Even most manufacturers will not suggest how long a harness will last.What does C stand for in fall clearance formula? ›
Extra Clearance (C) - The distance from the obstruction after a fall. You must include 1 1/2 ft. for required clearance and an extra 1 ft.What is the formula for free fall distance? ›
d = 0.5 * g * t2
where g is the acceleration of gravity (9.8 m/s/s on Earth). Example calculations for the distance fallen by a free-falling object after one and two seconds are shown below.
The basic types are guardrails, travel-restraint, fall-restriction, fall-arrest, and control zones.At what height do you need a harness? ›
OSHA requires workers to wear a full-body harness, (one part of a Personal Fall Arrest System) when they are working on a suspended scaffold more than 10 feet above the working surface, or when they are working in bucket truck or aerial lift.Can a body belt be used for fall protection? ›
Under §1926.502(d), body belts are not permitted to be used in a personal fall arrest system, and the requirement is not negated by the use of a positioning device that limits any fall to 2 feet.