Government Buildings

Government Buildings

Federal, state, and local government buildings have much in common with industrial and commercial properties.  Leaking and worn roofs need to be repaired and replaced; rooftop HVAC equipment, venting stacks, and air handlers require periodic inspection and maintenance.  Contrary to widespread belief, government installations are subject to the same OSHA fall protection regulations applied to the commercial and industrial market sectors.  With this said, government buildings present an additional set of challenges to fall protection companies that must be met to reconcile safety concerns with homeland security considerations.

We are a complete turnkey provider of OSHA compliant fall protection systems and have years of design and installation experience in the government market sectors  Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection requirements.

Design Considerations

The effective use of guardrail is a significant design considerations for many government buildings.  In many rooftop applications for this market sector, guardrail needs to blend into the overall building design, and as a result, stainless steel and hot dipped galvanized guardrail is used instead of the powder coated safety yellow guardrail commonly found in commercial and industrial applications.  For installations with parapet walls higher than higher than 21', there is no need for a midrail.  A top rail can be permanently attached to the parapet wall at 42'.

Overall system design needs to take into consideration that many government buildings are constructed to withstand terrorist attacks, and as such, these concerns will influence materials selections and system configuration.

Single point anchors are rated at 5,000 or 10,000lbs or 2 times the applied load in the event of a fall by a qualified person.  A single point anchor may be designed for single or dual tie-off as long as each user attaches to a designated D-ring.  Multiple users should never tie off to the same D-ring under any circumstances.

Rooftop single point anchors can be used in conjunction with a variety of deck substrates including metal standing seam, rubber membrane, or concrete.  A SPA is designed to protect workers within a 30 degree conical cone; moving outside the intended coverage area increases the likelihood of coming into contact with structure below the work area in the event of a swing fall.

Horizontal lifelines designated for rooftop use are typically constructed from corrosion resistant stainless steel components for maximum service life.  Our fall protection safety specialists can engineer a horizontal lifeline system to accommodate the special characteristics of your rooftop, from corners to the absence of pre-existing anchor points and more.

Although the horizontal lifeline system may seem simple in function and design, special care must be taken to account for the loads on various anchor points and deflection in the event of a fall.  Each anchor point must be secure enough to withstand the forces associated a fall and a thorough review of the work area is needed to ensure that a worker will not strike pipes, equipment, or other surfaces when falling.  Load and deflection rates are determined by a number of factors, including pre-tension of the cable, length of the area spanned by the horizontal lifeline, and the number of workers connected to the system.

OSHA Regulations

  • HLL/VLL
    • 1926.502(d)
      'Personal fall arrest systems.' Personal fall arrest systems and their use shall comply with the provisions set forth below. Effective January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. Note: The use of a body belt in a positioning device system is acceptable and is regulated under paragraph (e) of this section.
    • 1926.502(d)(8)
      Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system, which maintains a safety factor of at least two.
    • 1926.502(d)(9)
      Lanyards and vertical lifelines shall have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
    • 1926.502(d)(10) 1926.502(d)(10)(i)
      Except as provided in paragraph (d)(10)(ii) of this section, when vertical lifelines are used, each employee shall be attached to a separate lifeline.
    • 1926.502(d)(11)
      Lifelines shall be protected against being cut or abraded.
    • 1926.502(d)(12)
      Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
    • 1926.502(d)(13)
      Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which do not limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less, ripstitch lanyards, and tearing and deforming lanyards shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems
    • 1926.502(d)
      ''Personal fall arrest systems.' Personal fall arrest systems and their use shall comply with the provisions set forth below. Effective January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. Note: The use of a body belt in a positioning device system is acceptable and is regulated under paragraph (e) of this section.
    • 1926.502(d)(16)
      Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(i)
      limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kN) when used with a body belt;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(ii)
      limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(iii)
      be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(iv)
      bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and,
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(v)
      have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.
  • Ladders
    • 1926.1053(a)(18)
      Fixed ladders shall be provided with cages, wells, ladder safety devices, or self-retracting lifelines where the length of climb is less than 24 feet (7.3 m) but the top of the ladder is at a distance greater than 24 feet (7.3 m) above lower levels.
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)
      Where the total length of a climb equals or exceeds 24 feet (7.3 m), fixed ladders shall be equipped with one of the following:
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)(i)
      Ladder safety devices; or
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)(ii)
      Self-retracting lifelines, and rest platforms at intervals not to exceed 150 feet (45.7 m); or
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)(iii)
      A cage or well, and multiple ladder sections, each ladder section not to exceed 50 feet (15.2 m) in length. Ladder sections shall be offset from adjacent sections, and landing platforms shall be provided at maximum intervals of 50 feet (15.2 m).

Did You Know?

There were 6,271 cited Fall Protection OSHA standards violations in 2015?