a construction worker attaching safety harness

As one of the top hazards in the construction industry, roofing falls are preventable. The first step to preventing a fall in roofing is to identify and recognize the hazards present. The second step is to eliminate or minimize the recognized hazards.

OSHA’s Hierarchy of Controls can help accomplish minimizing hazards:

Elimination: Elimination of the hazard is the hardest option and typically is not realistic because there isn’t always a way to do the work and not have a fall exposure. 

Engineering Controls: An example of an engineering control would be utilizing temporary guardrails on the leading edges to minimize the edge fall hazard. 

Administrative Controls: Implementation and enforcement of a strict fall protection policy is an example of administrative control. The last hierarchy of control and the last line of defense is PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). The utilization of PPE such as a full body harness and a connection device is not a guarantee to protect an employee from injury because there is still potential for human error. 

Regardless of the Hierarchy of Control being utilized for roofing hazards, all crews need to be trained to recognize the hazards, be able to develop a game plan to safely perform the job and also be trained in the proper use of necessary safety protection equipment.

Training, planning and proper safety equipment help keep workers safe.