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4 methods - Kee safety canada
November 21, 2023

4 Methods of Roof Fall Protection

In their satirical book, Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull coined “The Peter Principle,” which says that in a hierarchy, employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.

However, there is nothing funny about construction and maintenance workers rising to the roof to perform their critical tasks under hazardous conditions. Conversely, there is a hierarchy on the rooftop requiring the utmost competence and expertise. It is known as the Hierarchy of Fall Protection, and it promotes four methods to help ensure safety:

  1. Eliminate Hazards
  2. Collective Fall Protection
  3. Fall Restraint
  4. Fall Arrest

Easier Said Than Done

The easiest way to protect workers on the roof is to eliminate the hazards and, therefore, eliminate the need to access the roof. For example, can HVAC or other equipment that needs regular servicing be installed at the ground level?

Such solutions may not always be possible or practical, so it is imperative that access to the roof be restricted to trained, authorized personnel only.

Furthermore, can the workers on the roof be constrained to areas at least 15 feet (4.6 meters) away from the roof edge? Can they be kept away from trip hazards, such as cables, piping, and ductwork?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If the hazards cannot be eliminated, take the next step in the hierarchy.

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