Tech Talk Blog

Rooftop Safety Railing Perimeter Planning Guide

LORGUARDFreestanding safety railing is one of the simplest forms of rooftop fall protection.  Unlike horizontal lifelines or single point anchors, which require worker tie-off, a rooftop guardrail system requires very little of its user.  Employees don’t need to wear a harness, connect to an anchor point, or receive training in the safe use of the system.  That said, you’ll need to do some planning prior to installing freestanding rooftop safety railing systems to ensure worker safety and OSHA compliance.  This post serves as a guide to determining baseplate and railing section requirements when installing our LORGUARD safety railing. 

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Portable Guardrail Provides Non-Penetrating Fall Protection System for Rubber Membrane Roof

The return of warmer weather means additional rooftop maintenance activity.  Repairing roof leaks, HVAC equipment and rooftop pipe rack systems place maintenance personnel at greater risk for falls. Each of these activities falls under OSHA 1910 (General Industry), which requires fall protection for personnel exposed to unprotected leading edges while working at elevations of four feet or more.  How you choose to protect your employees engaged in rooftop maintenance activities depends on a variety of factors, including the type of maintenance work performed, frequency of access, and the size of the intended coverage area.

Rooftop fall protection can take many forms, ranging from horizontal lifeline and rigid track systems to portable and permanently installed guardrail.  Our recent installation of 1,500 linear feet of portable guardrail for a client in the food processing industry is an excellent case study explaining when and where portable guardrail is an ideal solution for rooftop fall protection applications. 

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Portable Guardrail for Temporary Rooftop Fall Protection Applications

EHS managers are sometimes placed in the awkward position of balancing employee safety requirements with the company’s bottom line.  In short, how do we maintain worker safety in a cost effective manner?  To see this balancing act play out in real life, most of us need look no further than the rooftops at our workplaces.  The roof is a common location for HVAC equipment requiring periodic inspection and maintenance.  Depending on the location of your HVAC installations (e.g., units placed within six feet of an unprotected leading edge), you may require some sort of fall protection to be in compliance with OSHA safety standards.  In our hypothetical scenario, the HVAC system may only require inspection once or twice a year, which in turn may make investing in a permanently installed, custom engineered fall protection system seem like overkill.  Given these facts, what is the best way to ensure worker safety, OSHA compliance, and a sound bottom line?

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Did You Know?

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide proper fall protection to all workers who are exposed to fall hazards?