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What kind of fall protection should I use at my house?

This Week on Dynamic Discussions

On this week’s episode, Greg and David talk to us about home fall protection precautions. What kind of fall protection should you use while working on your own home? When working on home projects, like fixing the roof or hanging holiday lights, typically people don’t consider fall protection precautions. Falls are accidents, and they always happen when you’re least expecting it. So be prepared! A permanent roof anchor is a great fall protection tool and can be installed under your roof shingles. A vertical lifeline assembly allow you to work in fall restraint and is an ideal addition to a residential fall protection tool kit.

Home Ladder Safety 

Typically, work on your own home is going to involve a portable ladder. Hanging lights, changing a bulb, painting just out of arm’s reach, all of these common scenarios are perfect for a ladder. While you’re getting your DIY on, remember that following proper ladder safety is key. Some things to keep in mind are; make sure the ladder is extended 3 feet over the edge of the roof and have 3 points of contact on the ladder at all times.

In 2022, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), provides the following Quick Card on Portable Ladder Safety.

■ Falls from portable ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries.
■ Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.
■ Avoid electrical hazards!
    ○ Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder.
    ○ Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
■ Always inspect the ladder prior to using it.
■ Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing.
    ○ Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing.
■ Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
■ Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
■ Do not use a self-supporting ladder as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
■ Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
■ Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface.
■ Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
■ Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
■ An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support.
■ The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface.
■ A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement.
■ Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
■ Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder.
    ○ Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.

The Vertical Lifeline Assembly

For helpful home improvement enthusiasts, a vertical lifeline assembly is a really simple and effective piece of fall protection equipment. If you’re working on your roof, you may use a VLA in fall arrest applications, where the system stops a person who is already in the process of falling and bringing their body to a halt. This is one way to use the VLA, but they are most used in fall restraint scenarios where the person operates within a limited amount of space and the system stops them from reaching a dangerous fall hazard. To use a vertical lifeline assembly, you must first use the self-locking snap hook to attach the poly-rope to an approved anchor point. Then, measure out the appropriate distance to allow the worker to move around safely in the work environment without reaching the edge or crashing into the ground if fall may occur. Make sure to factor in the length of the shock pack just in case the pack becomes deployed. Use the rope grab positioning device to solidify your location along the rope and lock it into place. Now you are safe to move around the workspace and avoid the fall hazards.

Using a Vertical Lifeline Assembly

To use a vertical lifeline assembly, you must first use the self-locking snap hook to attach the poly-rope to an approved anchor point. Then, measure out the appropriate distance to allow the person operating to move around safely in the work environment without reaching the edge or crashing into the ground if fall may occur. Make sure to factor in the length of the shock pack just in case the pack becomes deployed. Use the rope grab positioning device to solidify your location along the rope and lock it into place. Now you are safe to attach your full body harness to move around the roof and avoid the fall hazards.

The Permanent Roof Anchor

A permanent roof anchor is an ideal tool to install on your home roof. It is a versatile and lightweight safety solution that can be installed beneath the shingles on your roof and blends extremely well so as to not detract from the aesthetic of the roof.  Designed for wood rooftops and permanent applications, the Malta Dynamics roof safety anchors have two D-Ring ends made from alloy steel and an 18″ stainless steel body for exceptionally long life.

You can install these roof anchors during construction, or they can be added secondarily to create a reliable, long-wearing roof anchor that is easy to use and low profile enough to leave it installed. Simply attach your lifeline and full body harness to the anchor point and get to work. 

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