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Rooftops present a multitude of hazards for construction workers. Even accessing the roof can be a problem. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness of the dangers posed and the evolution of systems and equipment to protect workers.
Ladders and roof hatches are the most common ways to access a rooftop; however, these access points need protection against a fall. A roof access hatch, such as Kee Dome Railings, requires a railing system that uses a self-closing safety gate. Once the worker passes through the safety gate, it closes so that the access hatch is guarded against a fall. The same goes for ladders. Kee Gate is a self-closing gate used as part of a railing system to offer fall protection where ladders meet the roof.
The most comprehensive protection on a flat or low-sloped roof is an engineered, ballasted guardrail system around the perimeter. KeeGuard is a modular, non-penetrating free-standing safety railing system designed for the specific roof layout and design. Since it is always in place, KeeGuard provides constant roof edge fall protection without a second thought.
For construction workers, permanent roof edge railings may not yet be installed. However, fall protection can be provided with portable, temporary railing sets such as KeeGuard Contractor and demarcation warning lines, such as Kee Mark.
Construction workers on a roof are often equipped with harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines that require anchor tie-off points to provide active fall restraint. There are permanent roof anchor points and portable safety anchors.
Kee Rigid Anchor is a permanent roof anchor and tie-off point that is attached by one of several methods to the underlying roof structure (steel, concrete, or wood). Weightanka is a mobile, deadweight anchor that uses a central pedestal surrounded by four base weights. This portable anchor can be used where a railing system or permanent roof safety anchor is not feasible.
An energy-absorbing, safety lifeline system combines exceptional freedom of movement with lifeline fall arrest. KeeLine is a horizontal lifeline system with posts and brackets that can be installed on membrane roofs, structural roofs, metal sheet roofs, and overhead. The energy absorber is calibrated to impart lower forces for a minor fall and greater stopping power in the event of a severe fall.
A roof can be filled with obstructions—piping, conduits, cables, changes in levels—that hinder safe roof access. Kee Walk Rooftop Crossovers provide a “stepover platform” for such impediments. They combine Kee Walk anti-slip roof treads with Kee safety railing systems, toe boards, and base counterweights. These safe access platforms are easily configured for individual needs and do not penetrate the roof membrane.
Rooftop fall protection is an ever-present and overriding concern in the construction industry. These challenges can be met by smart solutions that include roof hatch railings and self-closing safety gates, perimeter safety railings, demarcation warning lines, roof anchors, horizontal lifelines, and rooftop crossovers. A fall protection expert can evaluate your individual needs and provide the most effective and safe solutions.
What experts look for when performing a rooftop safety audit and how to improve worker safety with solutions that exceed OH&S compliance.