Construction Safety

Using Anchors in Construction Roofing Jobs

Installing, Finding and Using Anchors

Unlike other roofing jobs, patching and repair involves otherwise intact roofs. Selecting a location to install an anchor in construction roofing jobs is a critical step in avoiding a fatal fall. An anchor gives the worker a secure point to tie off the lifeline for a fall arrest system. Most of the time, existing residential roofs will not have permanent anchors available for use as fall protection. However, a qualified person should survey the roof to confirm that this is the case. An anchor for a fall arrest system must meet the 5,000-pound strength requirement or maintain a safety factor of at least two (twice the impact load) under supervision of a qualified person [29 CFR 1926.502(d)(15)]. Identifying existing anchors: Inspect the ridge cap and last rows of shingles for permanently installed anchors. This activity should be performed from ground level. If present, these may be fastened to the top chord or other frame part during construction. Anchors could also have been installed with the original roof, using a lowprofile style sometimes painted to match the roof color (making it less obvious from the ground).

When available, existing anchors might be effective points for a worker to tie off. Before using them as tie-off points, have a qualified person inspect them to make sure they can support the weight of a falling worker.

If the roof was not fitted with permanent anchors, employers can install them as the first phase of the job. This retrofit process should be planned so that the roof remains intact and does not leak after the job is completed. It will likely be necessary to replace an additional shingle or reset a couple shingles or tiles.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, or consult a professional engineer, for proper installation. Here are some anchor options that could be used, depending on the roof design:

• Peak anchor: At the apex of the roof, peak anchors are typically solid, unmoving pieces secured to the trusses underneath.

• Permanent D-rings: Inexpensive D-ring anchors attached to the truss frame that can be removed after the job is done, or left permanently on the roof.

Check out the roofing safety fact sheet here for more information:

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