Protecting Anyone Who Goes On Your Roof: Part I

At the end of the year OSHA announced that, for the eighth year in a row, Fall Protection – General Requirements was the #1 most cited violation. Being a roofing company this is something that is very serious to us and, as people who value the lives of employees and co-workers, it’s probably very serious to you too.

In this series we will touch on the three essential steps to protect anyone that goes on your roof. The first step is to PLAN.

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” –Thomas Edison

Before anybody even steps foot on the roof it is vital for there to be a plan set in place. What equipment should we use? Do we have everything we need? What type of roof is it? Are there any skylights or leading edges that we need to be prepared for? Depending on the height and slope of the roof can also dictate certain safety measures.

Did you know that OSHA’s regulations change depending if the slope of the roof is  more or less than 4:12?



If the roof is a “low-slope” less than 4:12 pitch, then there are a few options.


  • Guardrail systems
  • Safety net systems
  • A combination of warning line system and guardrail systems
  • A combination of warning line system and safety net systems
  • A combination of warning line system and safety monitoring system
    • Or, on roofs 50-feet or less in width, the use of a safety monitoring system alone is allowed

If the roof is a “steep roof” more than 4:12 pitch, then the options are more specific.

Each employee must be protected from falling by one of the following.

  • Guardrail systems with toeboards
  • Safety net system
  • Personal fall arrest system

Planning can seem overwhelming, and since it is the first step, it may make you want to procrastinate. But understand, once your plan is figured out you will be one step closer to ensuring everyone can come down from the roof slow and steady!

If you have any questions regarding how to create a plan or what types of safety measures need to be included for your roof, then give our roof experts a call. We can come out and take a look at your roof and show you what safety requirements will be necessary for your team. Call a roofing expert here.

United States, Congress, “Protecting Roof Workers.” Protecting Roof Workers, OSHA, pp. 8–16.