Technical Papers

Roof Replacement - DIY Home Improvement Can Be Tragic

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 by James Bohon

 DIY Home Improvement Can Be Tragic - Image 1
Doing home improvement work for yourself or a friend can be gratifying. But when you are not a professional and the elements factor in, someone could get hurt.

A few weeks ago, this man from the Louisburg, KS area, fell off a friend's roof and broke both feet. Unfortunately, he broke his left heel bone and his right tibia has a pilon fracture. He told me that the surgery has been set for next Monday.

He stated we were almost finished and it started raining and that is when he slipped and fell off the roof. Arrow Renovation uses the OSHA regulations for Roofing which can be found at

The Requirement to Provide Fall Protection 

Using a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)
Employers generally must provide fall protection if workers are exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more to a lower level. One form of fall protection is a personal fall arrest system (PFAS). When used properly, these systems will arrest a fall and prevent the worker from contacting a lower level. A PFAS consists of an anchor, a harness, and a lifeline or lanyard (usually with a deceleration device). 

A PFAS must be used properly to be effective. Adjust the harness to fit snugly. The D-ring attachment for the harness should be centered between the worker’s shoulder blades and the leg straps should be adjusted until they are snug. 

Fall arrest systems must be designed and set up to prevent a worker from free falling more than 6 feet or contacting a lower level (e.g., the floor or the ground) (29 CFR 1926.502(d)(16)(iii)). 

Body belts are not acceptable in a PFAS because they can cause serious injury during a fall (29 CFR 1926.502(d)). 

The anchorage for a fall arrest system must be capable of supporting 5,000 pounds per worker attached or be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two (29 CFR 1926.502(d)(15)). During roofing work, it is important not to attach 

anchors to sheathing, single trusses, or most guardrails. These are typically not strong enough to meet OSHA’s standard. Instead of attaching anchors to sheathing alone, attach an anchor to a structural member by driving the fasteners through the sheathing and into the rafter or truss member below. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing anchorage. 

Employers must ensure that fall arrest equipment subjected to the forces of a fall are taken out of service until it has been inspected by a competent person and determined to be undamaged and suitable for reuse (29 CFR 1926.502(d)(19)). 

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