The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires roofing professionals to utilize a fall protection system when working at the height of six feet or more above a lower level, regardless of the pitch. Detailed below are some of the conventional methods of fall protection available to protect workers.
Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)
PFAS, the most common and preferred tool used for fall protection among roofing professionals, consists of a worker wearing a full-body harness attached to a fixed anchor point via a lanyard or cable.
This method is cost-effective and time-efficient.
A single, fixed point anchor can result in a swing fall. While this is an effective means of fall protection to control a worker from completely falling from a roof, this method does pose a risk of a swing fall. As a worker moves away from the vertical line from the anchor, vertical forces can cause a whipping action, thus contributing to a harder fall.
PFAS + Rope Grabs
Many roofing professionals prefer to use adjustable rope grabs. A rope grab system consists of a worker wearing a full-body harness attached to a fixed anchor point via a rope. The harness is connected to the rope by a rope grab that allows the user to move up and down the rope fluidly. However, if the rope is jerked or if a fall occurs, it locks into place and keeps the worker from falling further. Rope grabs allow workers to adjust the length of the rope as they move, which can be quite handy when greater mobility is required. The anchored rope can be as long as needed, making this form of fall protection very versatile.
This method is cost-effective and time-efficient, it also allows for maximum range and mobility.
Roofers who use rope grabs need to keep the slack out of the line, too much slack can result in a worker free falling more than six feet off the roof in the event of a slip.