Workplace Safety Guides

   Avoiding Falls and Other Roofing Accidents


After gaining access to the roof, go directly to the anchor and immediately tie off. If permanent anchors have not been installed, install temporary anchors as described in the fall protection work plan. Be sure to follow manufacturers' recommendations. If the safety rope is the adjustable type be sure to adjust the length so you have only the length needed to do the work safely. Move unused portions of safety ropes or lines to an area that does not create a tripping hazard. Each worker needs to be adequately protected from falling. Additional safety ropes can be attached by the worker who is already protected and then placed so that other workers can tie off before getting on the roof. Select the proper length of rope for the job and adjust the rope grab. Tie a limiter knot to act as a stop for the rope grab to prevent falling off the roof edge. The limiter knot should be tied high enough to allow for the length of the lanyard.

There are a variety of choices for fall protection equipment. Whatever equipment you use, always refer to the manufacturers instructions for installation and proper use.

If there are any openings, such as skylights or chimney shafts, they need to be guarded with standard guardrails or securely covered and marked. Once the felt is laid, caution should be used when walking to prevent tearing and slipping. Workers should not carry tools and materials while on the ladder in order to keep both hands free for climbing. Any additional tools or supplies needed should be transported to the work area safely. When working with sheet metal, use proper gloves. When using cutting tools cut away from yourself and use a hard, stable surface. When using a pneumatic nailer, protective eye protection must be worn.

It is important to be aware of the safety of other workers below. The predetermined area for dropping roof debris needs to be clearly marked and away from high traffic areas. Before clearing the roof of scraps and debris visually check the drop zone area and announce your intentions before tossing materials off of the roof. After the roof is complete only one worker is needed to finish the job. Any additional workers exiting the roof can remain connected to their lifeline until safely on the ladder. The remaining worker can disconnect all other lifelines and transport the lifelines and any remaining tools off the work area safely. The last thing to do is to disconnect your lifeline and go directly to the ladder to safely exit the roof. Keep both hands free for climbing. Inspect all the fall protection gear for any damage and store it in a protected container.

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