Roofing-Related Fall Protection: How to Tackle the Top 3 Challenges

There's an old saying that goes: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."� Good advice, if there was any"��especially with regard to planning, designing, remodeling, and constructing any type of structure.


Incorporating full protection systems into the design helps ensure the safety of maintenance staff long after the construction phase is over.


This blog, courtesy of MSA, discusses each challenge and includes information on how planning can help safety-conscious organizations overcome these challenges and prevent roofing-related tragedies.


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Challenge #1: Improper Protective Gear

A major challenge for any safety manager is picking the right personal protective equipment (PPE) from an overwhelming availability of products.  Is the worker adequately trained in the use of the equipment? What are the current and future safety scenarios?


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically urges construction employers to plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely"��including what tasks will be involved and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.


Whether the work covers a new construction project, major renovation, or confined space entry application, what's needed are PPE solutions that help contractors be productive through each stage of the project.


Challenge #2: Lack of Engineered Systems

From trips to slips, and falls to fatalities, the most often cited OSHA fall-related violations involve skylights, sloped and steeped roofs, and unprotected edges. Reducing risk requires a comprehensive, engineered fall protection system designed especially for the unique contours, components, and construction details of the building.


Early-stage planning not only helps ensure that the systems are integrated into the building to protect the worker, but also seamlessly fit with the building's form and function.


Let's face it: When it comes to safety, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Failing to account for a building's unique specifications is failing to protect the worker at height.


Challenge #3: Failure to plan for maintenance

Workers at height are always at a risk for falling"��even after the construction phase is complete. In fact, the majority of new builds now require safe access to the roof area for ongoing building maintenance.


In addition, most post-construction buildings require roof area access for equipment servicing, too, such as attending to telecommunications masts, skylights, air conditioning units, elevator machinery, and PV panels.


Reducing Risk

Construction is a high-hazard industry and worker safety is paramount. OSHA helps ensure workplace safety standards by requiring fall protection equipment, fall arrest systems, and fall protection training for the worker at-height in the construction industry.


And yet there are those who are unaware that incorporating fall protection systems into the overall construction plan is highly desirable"��to the benefit of the construction worker, building aesthetics, and the ease and safety of building maintenance.


To reduce risk, it is imperative for construction, project, and safety managers to plan and implement a comprehensive, engineered fall protection system specific to the building design. Components may include such fall-protection products as:

  • Creative Guardrail Solutions
  • Engineered Horizontal Lifelines
  • Fall Arrest Systems & Fall Limiters
  • Guardrail Systems
  • Overhead Systems
  • Safety Net Systems
  • Self-Retracting Lifelines
  • Vertical Lifeline Systems
  • Worker Safety Training


Remember, workers at-height are always at risk of falling. Ask your solutions provider to design a system that meets both pre- and post-construction requirements. Require that your provider help with CAD concepts, working drawings, and plans, as necessary.



Here's what to look for when selecting a fall protection partner and, more importantly, how to tackle the top three challenges of roofing-related fall protection.


Challenge#1: Improper protective gear

  • Select a solutions provider that has the ability to adapt to a wide range of worker use. 
  • Require that the solutions provider offer a checking service to ensure that the recommended PPE is the best available for the application.


Challenge#2: Lack of engineered systems

  • Assess each building's unique installation requirements.
  • Look for solutions that provide safe access at all times.
  • Fit the system before final construction to maintain the integrity of the building's aesthetics.


Challenge#3: Failure to plan for maintenance

  • Install systems that enhance versatility.
  • Invest in high-quality solutions that extend usable lifespan.
  • Ensure adaptability to a wide range of roofing shapes, materials, and contours.



To help protect workers at height, construction, project, and safety managers must develop and implement a comprehensive plan that includes:

  1. PPE
  2. Engineered fall protection systems
  3. Post-construction safety solutions


A comprehensive solution that meets each of these requirements is available today from MSA, The Safety Company.


MSA works closely with major roofing manufacturers to provide a full range of fall protection systems for all styles and types of roofs. As a global leader in fall protection solutions, MSA has more than 20 years of experience protecting workers at heights. With a focus on safety, design, and consulting, MSA combines the science of fall protection with thermal and moisture protection, resulting in innovative, high-quality safety solutions for the roofing industry.


If you are in need of MSA's fall protection solutions, contact your Arbill representative or call 800-523-5367.


Have a Safe Day!