Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Working with fall arrest safety equipment on the roof - safety tip

Safety tip-Safety Lines on the roof

The construction industry has changed with the manner they work and in the way that they accomplish the erecting of buildings. Along with the new methods and equipment have come new and advanced safety regulations. In the modern age of construction, safety comes before all else when building a custom home.

With newer and larger more elaborate homes has also come larger and more grand roof designs from architects looking to make a statement for their clients to anyone viewing the home from the exterior. The standard custom home roof is a lot steeper than it use to be 25 years ago. With the change in pitch comes a more rigid safety standard.

The steeper the roof the easier it is to have someone fall and seriously injure themselves. To keep your workers safe they need to use certain safety systems while on the roof so that everyone goes home at the end of the day. The simplest and most inexpensive way of doing this is with a safety harness, lanyard, anchor and a safety rope.

There are four pieces of equipment you will require to work on high places safely. You will need a harness, a lanyard, a rope and an anchor.


The harness is a pre-assembled unit that is made from straps and buckles, this wraps around your body in a way that when you are secured to a rope and you fall you will not be immediately injured and the harness will hold you from breaking free and hitting the ground. There are many different types and grades of harnesses; the cost usually is directly related to the comfort of the harness. If your workers are always wearing one then a more comfortable harness should be purchased.  The harness has an expiree date on it, this is to stop the chance that the harness becomes too old and worn out. The harness is something that you can put on at the start of the work day, wear all day long and then take off at the end of the work day. It doesn’t need to be put on and taken off every time you get off the roof.


The Lanyard is the safety system that attaches to the harness; the harness will have a ring attached to it for this purpose. The lanyard can be made many different ways. There are different lanyards for what you need to accomplish. There are limiting lanyards that only allow you to move a certain distance from your anchor point and there are lanyards that are designed to catch you when you fall and give you a cushion with a bungee system. The lanyard attaches to the rope or guide wire when you arrive on the roof. Every time you arrive on the roof or exit the roof you have to clip/unclip your lanyard either from your harness or the rope. With roofing lanyards you squeeze the clip on the rope to descend. Lanyards have expiree dates on them as well and cannot be reused once they have deployed from saving someone from a fall.


 The safety rope that is used has to be a certified safety rope for Canada, there are very specific limits to these and not any rope will do. There are expiree dates on these as well, also you should check the rope for frays or where any foreign particle has lodged itself in them. The ropes come in many different lengths depending on what you require. The ropes are hung on the roof when you start construction of that area and are one of the last things to be removed only after the roof is completed. They are anchored to the top of the roof at certain points. The lanyard attaches to the rope directly.


The anchor is a system that is attached to the top of the roof where the rope will hang from. An anchor has to be strong enough to carry more then the falling weight of a large man, for this reason they have to be certified and stamped. There are many different anchor systems on the market, some of them are metal and screw into the roof trusses and others are a strap design that loop through a hole in the ridge of the roof around the ridge beam. The rope is loped or attached with a ring to them. These should be installed at the start of the project and should be installed by a supervisor. Some houses have the strap type anchor left under the shingle cap for future use from repairs or replacement of the roof tile.

Remember being safe means everyone gets to go home at the end of the day.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to working at high points you can never take to many precautions. Things can go south quickly and it's smart to take the right steps to protect yourself no matter how silly those things may be. Makes me grateful that we have ways of keeping our workers safe.