Tech Talk Blog

Rooftop Guardrail vs. Horizontal Lifelines–What’s The Best Option?

Last month, we did a post titled “Why A Horizontal Lifeline May Be The Wrong Solution.”  The teaser title was click bait, but if you took the time to read the article, you came away with a simple explanation:  horizontal lifelines aren’t appropriate for low fall clearance applications where the worker can impact the ground before the system arrests the fall.  This month, we’ll compare and contrast two common solutions for rooftop applications–guardrail and horizontal lifelines.

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Roof Fall Protection For Data Centers

Today’s digital economy is driven by data centers, and in many areas of the country with large pockets of data center activity, new facilities aren’t going online fast enough to keep up with demand. The data center boom has made the transfer of information more efficient, but it is also exposing maintenance personnel and contractors to new fall hazards that require a creative approach to remediation.  Here’s why….

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HVAC Fall Protection Systems

Commercial and industrial grade HVAC units keep personnel and sensitive electronic equipment cool, but maintenance on units taller than 4 feet requires fall protection per OSHA 1910.  Our recent installation of HVAC guardrail systems at a local airport illustrates the benefits of partnering with a fall protection company that can provide custom, application specific solutions.

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Custom Color Rooftop Guardrail

Henry Ford once said “You can buy a Model T in any color as long as it is black.”  If you have spent time searching online or consulting catalogs, you may assume Ford’s rule applies to guardrail too because most of the guardrail you’ll see is safety yellow.  Don’t get us wrong–yellow guardrail is highly visible and a good way to remind folks that a leading edge is near.  That said, there are times when a perimeter railing system needs to blend with a building. Whether you prefer guardrail that matches company colors or the goal is concealing the fall protection system from the ground level, we can help.

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Non-Penetrating Rooftop Guardrail Installation

When it comes to rooftop fall protection installations, we hear common concerns.  Clients want reassurances that the proposed solution is in alignment with available budgets and meets or exceeds OSHA requirements.  We also field questions and concerns over roof modifications.  Drilling holes or cutting to expose structural members beneath the roof’s surface is an especially sensitive subject because many of our clients have hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars invested in their roofs.  Fortunately, we have a wide variety of rooftop fall protection solutions to address these pains.

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Skylight Guardrail Fall Protection

Skylight Without Fall ProtectionDuring rooftop safety assessments, we often ask our clients to point out known fall hazards.  The most frequently mentioned rooftop fall hazard is the building’s leading edge.  From here, some clients mention roof elevation changes or access hatches, but most struggle to identify additional fall hazards that may trigger OSHA violations.  Sometimes the most innocuous feature—for example, a skylight—is the most troublesome omission because folks fail to see the potential dangers posed by areas that appear safe. 

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Did You Know?

All guardrail that is protecting an opening or leading edge must be able to support 200 pounds on the top rail and 150 pounds on the midrail in any direction?