Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards cover pretty much everything in a manufacturing or industrial facility, from the floor to the ceiling. In fact, did you know that OSHA is responsible for enforcing a number of standards that relate to your facility’s roof? That’s because a larger percentage of workplace accidents each year involve falls from elevated heights, and the roof, obviously, presents a number of potential hazards in this regard.
In particular, safety around roof hatches is critically important. As workers access and exit the rooftop, extra care is necessary to reduce the chances for serious accidents.
With assistance from the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), OSHA has identified a number of factors that must be considered when providing for the safe (yet productive) use of roof hatches:
- Weather Conditions:
Unlike most other areas of your facility, the roof is exposed to the elements. Rain can make surfaces slippery (especially on steep slopes) and, of course, frost, snow and ice make things even more hazardous. High winds present their own challenges, slamming hatch covers open and closed and adversely impacting balance when walking.
- Equipment Use And Maintenance:
OSHA identifies damaged or broken equipment as a main contributor to workplace accidents on roofs and otherwise. It is critical that workers understand and follow policies about reporting ladders and hatches that need maintenance or replacement.
- Worker Behavior:
Employers risk hefty fines for violating fall-protection standards, and safety must never be taken for granted. Training and reinforcement are important measures for any business. With that being said, OSHA also calls for workers to take responsibility for their safety by remaining diligent.
More OSHA Facts About Rooftop Falls And Fines
- OSHA reports that nearly 90 percent of fatal falls happen when no fall-protection system is in place.
- In a separate study involving fall-related accidents, it was found virtually all deaths could have been prevented by employing guardrails, personal fall arrest (PFA) systems, safety nets, covers or other measures.
- Fall protection issues are historically the most-cited OSHA violations every year.
- After January 13, 2022, OSHA penalties for non-compliance look like this:
- Serious / Other-Than-Serious / Posting Requirements: $14,502 per violation
- Failure to Abate: $14,502 per day beyond the abatement date
- Willful or Repeated: $145,027 per violation
OSHA has developed standards for roof opening covers (1926.502[I]), guardrail systems (1926.502[b]), ladders (1926.1053[a]), PFA systems (1926.502[d]), safety net systems 1926.502[c]) and many other items related to roof access and usage. These standards consider everything from the slope of the roof to measures for reducing falling objects. OSHA takes rooftop safety very seriously, and that means businesses must do the same.
PS Access Solutions™ manufactures roofing industry solutions that use proven, innovative designs developed to keep workers safe when accessing and exiting the roof. These products include:
Slidewise™ Roof Hatches
To combat dangerous wind gusts, PS Access Solutions developed the aerodynamic Slidewise™ roof hatch. Unlike traditional tip-up hatches, it slides open horizontally and is unaffected by wind. Personnel can safely exit and enter the roof hatch in any weather without the hatch panel slamming open or closed.
Designed to meet federal OSHA safety railing requirements, HatchSafe® is a full perimeter railing system complete with an integrated Ladder Safety Gate and HatchGrip® horizontal grab bars. It provides permanent four-sided protection designed specifically for your roof hatch opening, ensuring a safe, stable grip for employees entering and exiting the roof hatch.
This helpful product provides ladder extension grips that extend beyond your roof hatch. The horizontal rungs ensure a firm, stable grip for employees as they exit and enter. HatchGrip mounts to the exterior of a roof hatch to provide workers with a safe and easy rooftop transition.
Are you doing everything you can to keep workers safe on the roof of your building? To learn more about OSHA standards, visit www.osha.gov, and to learn more about roof access products from PS Access Solutions, go to www.psaccesssolutions.com.