Roofing Safety

Roofing is a very hazardous project and so if you are embarking on one, make sure you have an appropriate fall strategy in place. There are many different types of fall arrest equipment available in the market place, and it is important that your supplier is aware of exactly your requirements and offers training or guidance on how to use fall arrest equipment.

There are two main types of fall arrest equipment you can use on your roofing project, and these are:

1.)    Fall Restraint Systems
Fall restraint systems are designed to prevent falls from heights occurring. Temporary guard lines and walkways that protect you from walking near edges, barriers, and scaffolding are all examples of fall restraint systems. A fall restraint system is often preferred to fall arrest.

2.)    Fall Arrest Systems

Fall arrest systems are designed to prevent falls that are in progress, through a body harness or safety net. There are many different types of fall arrest equipment that you can use whilst working atop a building, and they have certain things in common. Fall arrest equipment typically consists of an anchor, a harness, a lanyard, (rope) and body holding device.

3.)    The anchor and lanyard (rope)

When choosing the anchor for your fall arrest system, make sure the place where you are attaching the anchor (the anchor point) is suitable for the job you want it to do. It is a good idea to choose a shock absorbing lanyard for your fall arrest system, as this will take some of the force out of a fall.

The anchor has to support your weight in the event of a fall, so select your positioning carefully and move around it with your rope attached until you are confident that it can carry you in you fall. Try not to move too far away from the anchor point of your fall arrest system, as this will result in swinging and you can swing quite hard into surfaces around you.

4.)    The belt or the harness

A harness is significantly safer than a belt. If you have a safety belt attached to it and you fall, you will fall only as far as the rope allows. Some workers prefer to use a belt, however a fall arrest system that is attached to a belt can still cause serious injury as the force of the fall is distributed around the waist, which is why a harness is always better to use.

When using a fall arrest system with a harness, it is important to wear a good one that is properly fitted. This is not so much for comfort than for safety, as if you do fall, the quality and fit of your harness is what is going to save you from injury.

5.)    Lifeline systems

A lifeline system is a type of fall arrest equipment which increases your mobility by using a long piece of rope which has multiple anchor points so that you can move around the surface of the roof (or any high place).