National Safety Stand-Down: Fall Arrest Systems - How to Prevent Roof Falls National Safety Stand-Down: Fall Arrest Systems - How to Prevent Roof Falls

Fall protection is a major safety focus for CentiMark on all roofing projects. The first step in preventing falls is to inspect and identify the potential hazards on every job. Personal fall protection can be placed into two different categories, fall arrest and fall restraint. Any personal fall arrest/restraint system is only as good as the equipment and the properly trained user.

A fall arrest system is designed to protect an individual after a fall has taken place. The system, if used properly, will prevent someone from hitting the ground after a fall has occurred. Due to the protection occurring after a fall has taken place, fall arrest systems must withstand more force than a fall restraint system. Fall arrest systems are used while replacing decks, working on steep sloped roofs, and working on areas on bad decks. Systems consist of full body harness, shock absorbing lanyard, retractable lifeline and an anchor point. Systems must limit a fall to six feet or less.

Fall restraint systems, when properly used, are designed to prevent an associate from falling. In order to achieve this, the system is made to prevent an individual from being able to reach a fall hazard. These systems are used on low sloped roofs where crews must be kept away from a roof edge or skylight. It allows for crews to work up to the edge, but restricts them from being able to go over the edge and fall. Systems consist of a full body harness, lanyard or rope grab and an anchor point.

Jim Penney, Safety Manager, Mississauga, ON