Preventing Worksite Falls

Preventing Worksite Falls

By Marie King

How to prevent worksite falls

Safety Tips

Falls from heights are a major concern on construction sites, ranking as the leading cause of death in the industry,” says Scott Rasor, head of Construction at Zurich North America. “More than 200 U.S. construction workers are killed a year from falls.” Because falls are such an obvious hazard in the roofing industry, it’s vital for roofing companies to take precautions against these accidents.

In a recent article in Property Casual 360, Zurich North America. offered tips on how to prevent falls at construction sites, here are some of the tips:

  • Assess site hazards to determine the appropriate equipment needed for a job.
  • Invest in proper equipment, ensuring it’s used appropriately and with caution.
  • Inspect and remove any fall exposures, while securing materials so they don’t fall.
  • Train employees on fall protection and equipment inspection, having accountability in place for ignoring safety precautions.
  • Document safety-training activities and non-compliance with protocols.
  • Before starting work, discuss the day’s tasks, required tools, and potential hazards.

Assess Site Hazards

On a roof, site hazards come in many forms. The configuration of the roof can present its own unique dangers. Make sure you construct an accurate diagram of the roof that shows its dips, gables, overhangs, dormers, etc. Do a visual with your foreman or ideally safety inspector to identify any other hazards. During the visual inspection, rid the roof of any debris like trash, wet leaves or tree branches. Likewise, note holes in the roof, broken gutters or damage to the roof deck and mark or repair them.

Invest in proper equipment

Most roofing jobs will require a standard array of equipment. However, depending on the size of the project and the structure that you’re working on, you may need to invest in additional equipment to do the job right and safely. Here is a sample of roofing equipment categories that you might need to use:


  • Ladders/Scaffolding
  • Material Movers
  • Tear-off Equipment
  • Perimeter Roof Protection System
  • Skylight/Hatch Protection System
  • Fall Arrest/Restraint System
  • Hand Tools

Inspect Equipment

For equipment to be effective in preventing falls, the equipment has to be in A-1 condition. Zurich North America has a checklist that you can use to detect defective equipment:

  • Is all hardware free of cracks, burns or corrosion?
  • Do all working parts move freely including buckles and snap hooks?
  • Are all plastic pads and keepers in place and free of cuts or cracks?
  • Are the webbing and rope free of any cuts, frays or broken fibers?
  • Do any tears, abrasions or discolorations exist? Is stitching in tact, or are the stitches pulled or cut?
  • Are all labels present and fully legible?

Train Employees

For equipment to be safely used, employees must know how to use it properly. Designate a lead worker to train the crew on all equipment and evaluate the personnel as to whether they have the skills to use the equipment safely. Training workers prevents very preventable accidents.

Non-Compliance Protocols

Make sure that your workers unsafe actions have consequences. Whether the consequences are reprimands, wage garnishment or firings; make workers aware of the regulations and enforce the penalties. Unsafe behavior not only endangers the individual but also the co-workers.

Daily Review

Each day of a roof installment presents unique challenges. Tearing off an old roof with its massive debris can be as dangerous as installing a roof when you’re balancing on a roofing deck. Reminding your workers each day about the unique hazards they face and how to safely cope with these dangers, can prevent falls.

Roofing Insurance

Activating safety measures and training can not only reduce accidents but also save you money on your roofing insurance. Safety measures and training can reduce claims against your workers’ compensation. Likewise, investment in a perimeter roof protection system might eliminate struck-by-an-object claims against your general liability policy.