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Notable OSHA Fall Protection Guidelines for Rooftop Safety Railing

The Occupational Safety and Health Act, otherwise known as OSHA, was enacted in 1970 by the United State Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees by setting and enforcing strong standards as well as providing training, outreach, education, and assistance to employees and businesses around the country. It’s one of the most important sets of guidelines to know for any business owner and human resources/safety departments to know forward and back, as violations can be costly. 

OSHA is extremely strict when it comes to safety regulations all around the worksite and warehouses, that also includes the roof, where accidents have been a big problem in the past. However, by following OSHA’s Fall Protection guidelines, you and your employees will be much safer when working up high. 

If you’re looking to add fall protection railings at your facility, here are some of the notable OSHA Fall Protection criteria that you’ll need to know: 

Full OSHA Fall Protection Criteria and Practices 1926.502 

– 1926.502(a)(2): Employers shall provide and install all fall protection systems required by this subpart for an employee, and shall comply with all other pertinent requirements of this subpart before that employee begins the work that necessitates the fall protection.

– 1926.502(b): “Guardrail systems.” Guardrail systems and their use shall comply with the following provisions:

– 1926.502(b)(1): Top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, shall be 42 inches (1.1 m) plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm) above the walking/working level. When conditions warrant, the height of the top edge may exceed the 45-inch height, provided the guardrail system meets all other criteria of this paragraph.

Note: When employees are using stilts, the top edge height of the top rail, or equivalent member, shall be increased an amount equal to the height of the stilts.

– 1926.502(b)(2): Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, or equivalent intermediate structural members shall be installed between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working surface when there is no wall or parapet wall at least 21 inches (53 cm) high.

– 1926.502(b)(2)(i): Midrails, when used, shall be installed at a height midway between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working level.

– 1926.502(b)(2)(ii): Screens and mesh, when used, shall extend from the top rail to the walking/working level and along the entire opening between top rail supports.

– 1926.502(b)(3): Guardrail systems shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied within 2 inches (5.1 cm) of the top edge, in any outward or downward direction, at any point along the top edge.

– 1926.502(b)(4): When the 200 pound (890 N) test load specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section is applied in a downward direction, the top edge of the guardrail shall not deflect to a height less than 39 inches (1.0 m) above the walking/working level. Guardrail system components selected and constructed in accordance with the Appendix B to subpart M of this part will be deemed to meet this requirement.

– 1926.502(b)(5): Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid panels, and equivalent structural members shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 150 pounds (666 N) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the midrail or other member.

– 1926.502(b)(6): Guardrail systems shall be so surfaced as to prevent injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent snagging of clothing.

– 1926.502(b)(7): The ends of all top rails and midrails shall not overhang the terminal posts, except where such overhang does not constitute a projection hazard.

There is a long list of OSHA Fall Protection Criteria and Practices that need to be carefully vetted before starting work on a rooftop. But once you get through the entire list of criteria, practices and guidelines, you’ll be in the market for fall protection railing for your employees. When that time comes, you’ll want a trusted and tried safety railing to make sure your employees are secure. And Ideal Shield’s fall protection safety railing is just the thing you’ll need. 

Ideal Shield's Roof Fall Protection Railing

Ideal Shield’s Steel Pipe & Plastic Roof Fall Protection Railing with custom gate.

Ideal Shield's white powder coated Roof Fall Protection Railing

Ideal Shield’s white powder coated Roof Fall Protection Railing

Ideal Shield's Aluminum Handrail with Roof Fall Protection Base Plates used for rooftop patio pathway

Ideal Shield’s Roof Fall Protection Aluminum Handrail with hidden base plates.

Available in Steel Pipe and Plastic Handrail, Aluminum Handrail (powder coated available), or Welded Steel Handrail, Ideal Shield’s Roof Fall Protection Railing is a modular system that ships fully assembled so no welding is required upon arrival, significantly lowering installation costs. The Roof Railing is also designed with base plates for penetration-free installation and is weather-resistant as it will not fade, chip, peel or rust, making it the perfect option for rooftop applications.

For more information on Ideal Shield’s Fall Protection Safety Railing or other rooftop protection options, contact the experienced and knowledgeable sales team today to get the exact rooftop railing your next project or facility needs.