Industry Knowledge

Rooftop Safety Systems

Whether it’s your own employees or a contractor performing repairs, safety is the most important concern when on the roof. Here, we will discuss important safety information implemented by OSHA,  and different equipment that can be installed to ensure that your roof is as safe as possible. 

“To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing  enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their  efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information,  education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health…” – Occupational Safety and  Health Act of 1970  

Let’s review the Danger Zone Key first, to cover the most dangerous and most safe spots on the roof. 

RED ZONE: RISK AREA 1 accounts for the 6 feet closest to the leading edge and therefore the most dangerous area on the rooftop. When a person is working in this area, OSHA requires conventional fall protection. – OSHA 1910.28(b)(13)(i)  

ORANGE ZONE: RISK AREA 2 covers the area 6 feet to 15 feet from the leading edge. Conventional fall protection is required as danger remains high due to the proximity to the roof edge. If the work being performed is “infrequent and temporary,” the employer may use a designated area. Designated areas are typically created by using a warning line system. – OSHA 1910.28(b)(13)(ii)  

GREEN ZONE: RISK AREA 3 is the least dangerous, but still requires safety measures to ensure worker safety. When work is performed 15 feet or more from the roof edge, the employer must protect each employee by providing a fall protection system or a designated area. If the work being performed is  “infrequent and temporary,” fall protection isn’t required, but we still recommend it. OSHA  1910.28(b)(13)(iii)

When it comes to occupational safety in the roofing industry, falls from height are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. The High 5 program was developed to help individuals get home by ensuring that the roofs they are working on are safe.  

1. ROOF ACCESS: The goal is to provide safe access and to get the worker away from the edge of the roof. The solution is a good ladder that meets the current OSHA regulations and a 10’ ladder defender to move them quickly away from the edge (shown in photos below). Other solutions are a roof hatch, portable ladder, stair system, or elevated working platform.


2. ROOF ACCESS FALL HAZARDS: Any time the roof hatch is open, it is considered an open hole and must be protected. It is important to evaluate if employees are exposed to a fall hazard of 4ft or more at the access point. Types of solutions for this are a Roof Hatch Guardrail System, Rooftop  Guardrail System, or Self-Closing Gate.

3. DESIGNATED WALKWAY ROUTES: The goal here is to direct the workers to the safest area for accessing different levels of the roof or to gain access over walls and pipes. It is important to have clear, designated walk paths for employees to follow. A walkway system encourages employees to stay within safe zones and away from potential hazards like leading edges,  elevation changes, skylights, pits, smoke vents, and other openings.


4. EQUIPMENT NEAR FALL HAZARD: Any work to be done within 15’ of the edge or skylights must be protected by a guardrail, a cable lifeline system, or single-point anchors. 

  • 6 feet from the edge (see Red Zone) – Guardrail System  
  • 6 – 15 feet from the edge (see Orange Zone)
    i. Frequent and/or not temporary – Guardrail System
    ii. Infrequent and temporary – Visual Permanent Warning Line System
  • 15+ feet from the edge (see Green Zone)
    i. Visual Permanent Warning Line System
    ii. Guardrail System

5. LEADING EDGES: These are areas that do not have anything close to the edge, but limit access to the roof edge. We place a warning line along the 15’ mark to the edge to create a controlled access zone.

It’s important for any facility to offer these protective measures for anyone that accesses the roof.  Installing the proper safety equipment on the roof decreases the chance of injury. The right fall protection system can ensure safety and regulatory compliance. For more information or to request a  quote, please contact us at (877) 491-6533. 


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