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Falls are the cause of 20% of all job-related injuries. Of workers killed by falls, 54% had no access to fall protection, and 23% had fall protection equipment but were not using it. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) consistently cite more companies for fall protection violations than any other issue.

When is roof fall protection required on residential roofs?

A number of these accidents and fatalities occurred during residential construction and roofing. There may be a point of confusion regarding which, if any, OSHA regulations apply to residential work. However, OSHA clearly states that residential construction and roofing are held to safety standards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 1926.501(b)(13) defines the duty to have fall protection in residential construction as the following:

Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure.

Exception: When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the employer shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of paragraph (k) of 1926.502.

Residential Roofer Fall Protection Systems

A standard bucket kit is the best and most common residential roof fall protection setup. A bucket kit can be found at your local hardware or big box store. (Malta Dynamics sells a bucket kit that can be found here.)

A standard bucket kit includes a standard reusable roof anchor, a vertical lifeline assembly, and a full body harness. Typically when you are using a standard bucket kit on a residential roof, you’ll want to work in fall restraint due to your clearance on a residential roof.

Two Forms of Fall Protection Restraint; Passive and Active

Passive Fall Restraint is where a worker does not use a personal fall arrest system (PFAS). Some forms of passive fall protection are guardrails or barricades placed near an edge. Relating this to outside holiday decorations would be decorating elevated windows from inside the home.

Active Fall Restraint involves the worker wearing a full body harness and a complete personal fall arrest system. In the case of holiday decorations, a good solution would be to utilize a roofer’s bucket kit. The roofer’s bucket kit includes a reusable roof anchor suitable for most residential applications, a vertical lifeline assembly to use as a positioning device, and a full body harness.

Residential Roof Fall Protection Training

Almost every person working in residential construction has at least a couple of stories of when they “almost” fell or when something “almost” happened. Oftentimes there will be injuries or, in some cases, fatalities because the training hasn’t been provided for the employees to know exactly what equipment they should be using and how to use it.

Training on personal fall protection should be utilized for anyone that is working in residential roofing. Residential roofing is subject to OSHA standards, and unprotected workers can be cited and fined the same as commercial construction.

free OSHA guide

Most bucket kits have a tutorial inside of them and should be read and practiced. Many residential construction companies have a small number of employees, which can oftentimes make it difficult to obtain the training needed. However, it is worth your while to have all your employees properly trained.

Roof Fall Protection Training with Malta Dynamics

Malta Dynamics understands that simply purchasing fall protection equipment isn’t always enough to keep your workers safe. Your team needs to know how to properly use, inspect and store safety equipment to prevent injury, and your equipment must be properly maintained and kept in good repair.

Malta Dynamics offers two different fall safety training programs, with on-site options available for groups to teach your team how to develop, use and document your safety program. Each training course can be customized based on your company’s specific needs.

Fall Protection Awareness Training (4-Hour Course)

A four-hour awareness course is designed for individuals with frequent (daily or weekly) exposure to fall hazards. Participants gain the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and avoid hazards associated with elevated work locations. The course features a series of presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises.

More information on this course and registration can be found here.

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