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  • Writer's pictureMark Forbes

Make Roof Safety a Priority this Year

Most business owners and property managers don’t spend much time on their roof, so roof safety isn’t a top consideration. Yet a bit of foresight now may prevent a serious accident later. Here are some roof safety tips for facility managers from the online site Buildings.

Buildings outlines six potential safety hazards commonly found on commercial roofs and offers some common sense ways to make your roof safer.

These tips come from their blog Roof Safety Tips for Facilities Managers.

Fall-Prevention Systems

While many commercial roofs are flat or have moderate slopes, some buildings feature steeply-sloped roofs. It’s important to have some sort of active fall protection system on roofs with steep slopes. These can include anchor points, lanyards and horizontal lifelines that workers can connect to when on the roof.

Edge Protection

Building managers can choose from active or passive ways to alert people that they are close to the edge of the roof. Active measures include guard rails or some other device to keep people from physically walking off the roof.

A warning line system placed 15 feet or more from the roof’s edge can also alert people that they are straying dangerously close to danger.

Safe Roof Access Systems

New OSHA rules now requires that roof access ladders 24 feet or taller be equipped with a fall protection system. These include center cables workers can attach a harness to or a self-retracting lifeline installed at the top of the ladder. Placing a cage around a ladder is no longer enough. Building owners have until 2036 to make sure their access systems comply with the new regulations.


Skylights are a common feature on many commercial roofs. To prevent roofers and maintenance people from accidentally falling through one be sure they’re covered with a protective cage or netting.

Vent and Hatch Covers

Much like skylights, vent and hatch covers must offer protection to prevent someone from accidentally falling through or be made from a material that passes an impact test. Covers made from acrylic usually aren’t strong enough on their own, so they should have a metal security screen or mesh placed over them. Some polycarbonate covers meet impact requirements. Check with the vent or hatch manufacturer to learn the specifications of the covers on your building.

Soft Spots on Roofs

Long-term water damage can sometimes cause roof decking to develop dangerous soft spots. These can often be found, and prevented, with a regular maintenance program.

About United Materials in Denver, Colorado

If you’re unsure about roof safety precautions or the condition of your roof, contact United Materials. For 99 years, United Materials has installed and maintained high-quality commercials roofs in Denver and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Our commitment to craftsmanship results in roofs that meet our customers’ needs and expectations.

Contact us today to learn about our complete line of commercial roofing installation, maintenance and repair services.

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