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5 Tips for Rooftop Fall Protection


Outfitting a modern office blends furniture, lighting, floor and window coverings, electronic equipment, supplies, and other elements to create a comfortable, practical, and productive working space.

Equipping a modern rooftop also combines a variety of components. The purpose is to provide roof fall protection for construction and maintenance workers that meets safety standards and regulations. It may not be as aesthetic as matching drapes with a carpet and oak desk; however, there is an elegance to the engineering of a compliant rooftop. Here are five tips to help ensure rooftop safety.

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1. Warning Lines

During the construction of a new building, an open rooftop can look like a clear palette, wide open but hazardous. Before the final fall protection systems are installed, a passerby might look up and notice a string of brightly colored triangular flags used for roof edge protection. This is a demarcation system.

A demarcation system is a modular, free-standing set of warning lines that alerts workers where it is safe to traverse. Warning lines are commonly used for new construction and helpful on existing buildings where rooftop maintenance is infrequent and temporary.

Employers can use warning lines between 6 and 15 feet from a roof edge but should also use a personal fall arrest system (PFAS). Beyond 4.6m, a designated area marked by warning lines is sufficient.

KS KGU 5494

2. Railings

A roof guardrail system is the best permanent solution for perimeter edge protection on a flat or low-slopped roof. It is considered superior because it is a “passive” system that is always in place, protects multiple workers simultaneously, and requires little training.

Workers accessing the roof through a roof hatch must also be safeguarded. A roof hatch railing system that includes a self-closing safety gate provides compliant protection.

Kee Walk Rooftop Walkway

3. Walkways

Once on the roof, there can be several slip and fall hazards—puddles, obstructions, curvatures of the roof, change in elevation—where the worker may not be in danger of falling from the roof or through an egress but can still be injured.

A roof walkway system with anti-slip treads helps provide safe access for the worker and protects the roof’s surface. It can be fitted with a guardrail or integrated with a lifeline for added protection.

Kee Line / Horizontal lifeline fall arrest and fall restraint system

4. Lifelines

Speaking of the angel…lifelines are an essential element of rooftop fall protection. A horizontal lifeline offers an engineered system that affixes strong cables to anchored brackets and gives up to three workers on one system with lifelines freedom of movement.

Horizontal lifelines can be placed on membrane, structural, and metal sheet roofs. They can also be installed overhead, to the sides of structures, or connected to a non-penetrating anchor.

roof post / fall arrest / fall arrest systems / travel restraint / fall protection / permanent roof anchor

5. Anchors

Speaking of…a fall arrest anchor is the lynchpin of a lifeline system. Anchor points with lifelines are needed where there are no roof guardrails.  There are two viable approaches:

A permanent roof rigid anchor can be bolted, cast, welded, or epoxied in place to the underlying roof structure (steel, concrete, or wood). It can be installed on various roof types and used with lifelines and suspended platforms.

roof anchor / fall arrest / fall arrest systems / travel restraint / fall protection / portable roof anchor

A mobile, deadweight roof anchor system can be used where permanent anchors are not feasible. A cogent feature is rubber-coated base weights with suction cups to provide added friction and grip to reduce the chance of movement in the event of a fall.

Beauty is in the eye of the protected

An interior decorator can win awards for designing a beautiful, luxurious office. A fall protection specialist may not be able to compete in the same way; however, the systems and equipment cited are attractive in their own right.

They are built from aluminum or galvanized steel for strength and corrosion resistance—no unsightly rust. They can be powder coated for added protection and high visibility. And to a worker that must access a roof, what can be better looking than safe, compliant fall protection?

Rooftop Risk Assessment

Rooftop Safety Audit

How do We Assess Risk on Your Rooftop?

Kee Safety Fall Protection Experts perform a critical analysis of the entire rooftop surface to identify the hazards where workers are exposed to the greatest risk. This ensures that the most dangerous areas are protected immediately with state-of-the-art fall protection systems and OH&S compliant solutions.

Learn more