Residential Fall Protection - It's Time to Work Safe


If you are ever driving through a residential construction project take note on how much fall protection equipment is being used. Yes, there might be a safety bucket lying in a corner in case OSHA shows up, but generally it is not used. OSHA recently released a new directive that calls all residential builders to come into complia ce to a new guideline within three months.

My understanding of this new guideline is that residential fall protection is now considered feasible for the residential roofing industry. What this means is that OSHA is not going to listen to excuses about fall protection not being feasible for residential construction. It seems as if the kinds of fall protection equipment available have made OSHA think, “now there is no excuse”. In the past you might have been able to say, “there’s no way to keep those people safe.” Now that kind of excuse will be ignored and the organization will simply be fined.

Why the Change

My belief is that OSHA is simply updating their policies to be consistent with the kinds of equipment that are now readily available to all builders. 10 years ago people may have been able to say that there was not any equipment to protect people who were working on a residential rooftop. Today that is not the case. Today there is a proliferation of fall protection products that are designed to help people who are working in the residential building industry.

One of the constant complaints of builders is that fall protection encumbers their work and makes them uncomfortable (try as we may, the argument that death isn't comfortable seems to fall on deaf ears). One of the best products that I have seen answers a common complaint and keeps workers safe, the HUGS guardrail system. The HUGS system attaches underneath the eve of a residential or commercial frame roof building. The bracket attaches and detaches easily and provides perimeter guardrail protection around the edge of a roof.

Another readily available solution is a system that uses anchors and retractables. A system like swivel skyhook allows workers a complete range of motion without having to work with ropes and trip hazards lying around on the roof.

This is Simple.. Don't Complicate the Issue

The simple reality is that for about a thousand dollars a worker you can outfit someone with the proper fall protection to keep them safe while working on a residential rooftop. When you consider the cost of losing a friend, a brother, a father, that seems cheap! No excuses! When it comes to residential fall protection it is time to work safe!

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