The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is stressing the importance of fall-protection measures at work sites after four accidents in New Jersey. Construction firms should provide their workers with fall-protection equipment such as guardrails, safety nets, body harnesses and lanyards, said Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York. The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.)
Posts Tagged ‘osha’
Entering and leaving a roof hatch can sometimes be difficult if all you have to grab is the side or body of the roof hatch. Although it’s not code, a simple, inexpensive accessory is available for roof hatches to facilitate easy ingress and egress through the opening.
Roofmaster manufactures a Roof Hatch Grabber Bar. It mounts to all metal roof hatches to provide a safe means for workers to hold on to when entering/exiting through the hatch. It comes with all necessary hardware to mount it to the side of the hatch.
Construction is tubular galvanized steel with an exterior grade exterior-grade paint giving many years of rust-free service. The Grabber Bar fits all sizes of roof hatches.
Any opening in a roof deck like a roof hatch is a hazard to employees or contractors if left open. Proper protocol is to close the hatch after going up through it, but most times this is not done leaving a dangerous hazard for someone to fall through it. This is in violation of OSHA’s standard 29 CFR 1910.23 and 27 that requires compliance for safe ingress and egress through hatch openings in the roof.
An accessory item is now available to place a safety fence, or rail, around the hatch to prevent accidental falling through the opening. This Safety Guard Rail is clamped around the roof hatch thus eliminating any need for screws or bolts. This also protects the roof deck since nothing is mounted on the roof; it’s mounted on the hatch body itself. A chain is secured across the opening to the roof hatch opening on the safety rail. This system can be easily installed at the time the hatch is installed or years afterwards.
Construction is 1-5/8” OD tubular galvanized steel with an exterior grade powder-coat giving many years of rust-free service. Each safety system is size specific to the roof hatch size. Most typical sizes will fit roof hatch sizes like a 2’6″ x 2’6”, 2’6” x 3’0”, or 3’0″ x 3’0”. Other sizes also are available.
We’ve discussed in the past OSHA deciding that slide guards as your only form of fall protection are no longer acceptable in most applications. But what are slide guards, and how are they used?
Slide guards, or roof brackets as we call them, are manufactured of 11 gauge steel, and are offered in sizes to accept 2 x 6, 2 x 8 and 2 x 10 planks and to meet different roof pitch requirements.
Roofmaster is proud to stock the Reimann & Georger brand of roof brackets. Made in America since the 1950’s, the “blue” bracket is the most popular and most dependable in the country, and is the choice of professional roofers, painters, masons and carpenters. These are stamped and robotically welded, to ensure the highest quality bracket on the market.
The Standard (45°) bracket holds a 2×6 wood plank snugly with no rocking or tipping. Can be used on all slopes up to a 12/12 pitch. Bracket can be removed without raising or damaging the shingle.
The 60° bracket is similar to the standard bracket above except that it holds a wood plank at 60° to the roof pitch.
The 90° bracket is similar to the standard bracket except that it holds a wood plank at 90° to the roof pitch. This is the most common bracket, and is used primarily as a slide guard.
The “Adjustable” 2 x 8 bracket adjusts to any roof pitch. A locking device is provided to prevent accidental closing at 45° and 56°. Holds a 2 x 8 wood plank for a wide horizontal platform. Three parts form a sturdy triangle. When folded they form a solid rectangular box for easy storage.
The 45° 2 x 10 bracket is similar to the Standard 2 x 6 bracket except that it holds a 2×10 wood plank for an extra wide work platform.
Some important safety instructions before mounting the brackets:
- Roof brackets must be securely mounted with three 16-penny (16d) nails through the sheathing into the roof rafter
- Maximum horizontal spacing between brackets is 4 feet
- Install the appropriate roof brackets so the plank is level or pitched toward the roof surface
- All two inches of free space above the bracket plank support for unhooking
- The end of the plank must extend at least 6 inches beyond the roof bracket and no more than 12 inches
- Must use 2-inch nominal thickness, scaffold grade planking
- Inspect brackets before use for deterioration, damage or deformation; discard immediately
Remember, slide guards aren’t allowed to be the primary form of fall protection on your safety plan. You can use them in conjunction with other fall arrest systems, such as fall arrest buckets and self-retracting lifelines.
Anchor systems must be used for any heights higher than 7’6” (until 9/16/2011). After 9/16, the height restriction drops to 6’0”. Local OSHA’s (like Cal/OSHA), may or may not use the Fed OSHA height requirements. However, when facilities are on Indian land or Federal military bases, the federal OSHA regulations supersede local state OSHA and the height regulations in effect at-the-time will be in force. In California, roofing supply vendors (deliveries) are subject to CA Title 8 3210 (Cal/OSHA uses general industry Standards due to the suppliers SIC code and no contractor’s license) which calls for fall protection trigger height at 7½ feet on all roofs.)
FIRST RULE: Never, ever, tie off your fall arrest kit to a conveyor!!!!! You will be cited immediately by OSHA.
Loaders have been asking if there is an alternate way to tie off & use their fall arrest systems differently than instructed by the manufacturers. Roofmaster has been granted permission to attach the shock-absorber (included in kit) to the hook end of the safety line then run the slider to the harness (see picture).
This gives the loader a little additional freedom to do the loading without having to continually move the slider all the time.
Distributers that load roofs are faced with some logistical problems that need to be addressed. First, who installs the roof-ridge anchor for the loading crew to use? If the distributor has to install it, the roofing contractor has to bear the responsibility of removing it and/or waterproofing it after the job is complete. Distributors NOTE: Contact your legal counsel to determine liability issues if the anchor system you install for loading purposes is left on the job site. Distributors & contractors can negotiate who will bear the cost of installing the anchor.
With the rush to conform to the new OSHA ruling regarding the use of slide guards as a primary form of fall protection, there has been a run on safety buckets.
OSHA recently implemented a 3 month phase-in of this rule, to give contractors the time to properly implement new training and safety measures. Now that you can no longer use slide guards as your primary source of fall protection, you should look into outfitting yourself and your crews with the proper fall protection. Safety buckets are the primary (and cheapest) way to conform. But don’t be drawn in just by the price tag. There are varying levels of quality when it comes to these buckets. Are you getting value for your dollar’s worth??
We make our buckets with a high quality 5 point harness. Most of the “cheap” kits only contain a 3 point harness. If you are involved in a fall on the roof, wouldn’t you feel better knowing you have those 2 extra points of connection (not to mention there is less pain in a fall when wearing a 5-point harness)?
Another feature that sets us apart is our use of a blue poly steel rope, as opposed to the polydac ropes that may be prone to fraying. Blue poly steel ropes do not absorb water (nylon rope, when wet, will become 10-15% weaker than dry ropes) and is 10 times stronger than polypropylene.
We have been providing safety buckets to the Roofing Industry for over 20 years. We have vendors that are known for their quality. Remember, these buckets are for your workers or customers safety. Don’t just buy price, buy quality. A few dollars can mean the difference between life and the other option.
OSHA has announced a 3 month “phase-in” for residential construction fall protection. The reason for the delay is to ensure contractors have time to successfully come in to compliance with the new ruling. From OSHA’s website:
The three month phase-in period runs June 16 – September 15, 2011. During this time, if the employer is in full compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), OSHA will not issue citations, but will instead issue a hazard alert letter informing the employer of the feasible methods they can use to comply with OSHA’s fall protection standard or implement a written fall protection plan. If the employer’s practices do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue appropriate citations.
So now you and your crews have an additional 90 days to comply. Hopefully this will give you and us time to fulfill your requirements for fall protection to comply with O.S.H.A.’s new standard. As we all know, O.S.H.A. is a self funded agency. They are funded by fines!
This may be a rhetorical question you ask yourself. Here’s what you should know:
The moment you drive onto the site, park and step out of your vehicle the following should be considered as a safety start-up punch list:
- Put on your harness, and other personal safety equipment that will be needed for site;
- Place cones or delineators around work vehicles and equipment with flags, yellow caution tape or red danger tape;
- Discuss safety issues with the workers, for this site; per the job safety plan;
- Set-up ladders and the first worker up the ladder ties it off;
- Look for attachment points on the existing roof where workers will tie off;
- Install fall-arrest anchors as needed in proper places; one per worker.
We passed along NRCA’s brief regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals dismissing NRCA’s petition regarding OSHA’s slide guard rule last week (click here to read). However, some news coming out from Cal/OSHA indicating they will not follow Fed OSHA’s ruling, and will maintain their separate interpretation:
Cal/OSHA will continue to accept and allow the use of roof brackets. Specific to California; there will be NO CHANGES from the current standards. California will not revert to 6’ height requirement (will remain 20’) and the uses of slide guards/roof brackets are legal within the proper applications. Cal/OSHA will increase inspections, but their primary interest regarding roofers is their PROPER use of personal fall arrest systems that include ropes and rope grabs.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chicago, has dismissed NRCA’s petition for review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) slide guard rule.
In February, NRCA filed a petition for judicial review of new rules issued by OSHA that fundamentally change the requirements for protecting workers from falls on residential roofing projects. The new OSHA rules, which were issued in December 2010, no longer allow the use of “slide guards,” or roof brackets, as an acceptable means of fall protection except in some narrow circumstances.
NRCA’s petition argued OSHA did not follow appropriate rulemaking procedures when it eliminated an option that has been in place for 15 years; acted without any evidence to suggest slide guards are not an effective method for fall protection; and failed to take into account the effect the new rules would have on small businesses. OSHA argued the rule is not a new standard and is, therefore, beyond the reach of an appeal.
The court agreed with OSHA, concluding that the rule’s 1999 rewrite and 1995 predecessor amounted to “an exercise of prosecutorial discretion” and not a new standard.
“We were extremely disappointed by the court’s decision, even knowing that taking on the government always is a long shot,” says NRCA Executive Vice President Bill Good. “The new OSHA rule now will take effect in just over two months, so we will do our best to help all members prepare. We also hope to meet with OSHA officials to get a better understanding of their enforcement plans. Meanwhile, we encourage all members to let us know of their experiences with the new rule and OSHA enforcement activity.”
Because OSHA’s 1994 fall-protection standard always remained as the operative standard and the only thing that changed was OSHA’s articulation of how it intended to enforce that standard, the Seventh Circuit court concluded that “by deciding to enforce the 1994 regulation as written, the Secretary has not adopted a new occupational safety and health standard.”
Based on that conclusion and because a “standard” was not at issue in NRCA’s petition, the court had no proper jurisdiction, and NRCA’s petition was dismissed.
For more information about the court’s decision, click here.