If you’ve ever experienced an unexpected visit from an OSHA inspector, you know how important it is to be prepared. If you haven’t, consider this: OSHA has jurisdiction over 7 million worksites and, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, they still conducted over 21,000 inspections. These inspections are often unannounced, and since OSHA cites falling from heights as one of the most common causes of workplace injury, it pays to ensure that your rooftop fall protection is in full compliance ahead of time.
When it comes to preparing your rooftop for inspection, there are five main areas of concern: access, edges, equipment, openings, and navigation.
Let’s closer look at the five areas of concern:
While it’s logical to assume that most falls occur once people are on top of the roof, accessing the roof itself presents serious risk if the right roof fall protection systems aren’t in place. Your access point checklist should include:
- Access Control. Ladders, stairs, and hatches should both restrict unauthorized access as well as meter traffic flow. Ladder guards will prevent access from the bottom, while a combination of safety railings and a self-closing gate on the rooftop slows traffic and provides a safe barrier.
- Fall Protection. According to OSHA, for fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet (7.3 m) above a lower level, the employer must ensure that each fixed ladder installed before November 19, 2018 is equipped with a personal fall arrest system, ladder safety system, cage, or well and that each fixed ladder installed on and after November 19, 2018, is equipped with a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system.
- Visibility & Obstruction: Ensure your access points are well-lit and free from obstruction.