Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Fall Protection Rule for Roofers

Why Fall Protection?

For Roofers – falls are the number one cause of serious physical injury and death. There have been many different opportunities for workers to fall off roofs – be it roof edges, ladders, open holes, sky lights.

Over 70% of deaths in the roofing industry have been caused by falls. These were largely a result of not using any means of fall prevention for workers. 

New Fall Protection Regulations Governing Residential Roofing Contractors go into effect December 15, 2012.

Once a fall begins – it is virtually impossible to stop the fall yourself. It is impossible due to one of the unbending laws of physics – gravity.

Typical human reaction time is about ½ second - even in this short time, the distance and forces accumulated are considerable!

In .5 seconds you will fall roughly 4 feet and the force on impact (if you struck the ground) would be 3,200Lbs! There is no way a human can recover and self-arrest a fall when acting against these forces.

Let’s look at a chart of Fall Distance vs Arresting Force on Impact for 200 pound roofer.

Fall Distance           Time         Arresting Force7.6”                         .10 sec             512 lbs

17”                         .30 sec             1,152 lbs

31”                        .40 sec              2,048 lbs

4 feet                     .50 sec              3,200 lbs

6 feet                     .62 sec             4,800 lbs

8 feet                     .71 sec             6,400 lbs

10 feet                  .79 sec              8,000 lbs

As your fall progresses, the speed at which you fall increases as does the forces of impact that will be exerted upon you when you hit the ground.

You will only stop when you hit a lower surface – be it the ground or another roof/vehicle etc.


  1. Great information for all of us in the roofing industry. The roofing stats are definitely scary. Any roofer or contractor who is not in the proper frame of mind when getting up there is really asking for trouble. Always be sure you have your safety checklist before repairing or installing roofs. It should be dealt high handedly to avoid such incidents.

  2. Very much agree with the above point of view.

    Roof Repair Towson MD

  3. Very Informative! This blog is great source of information which is very useful for me. Thank you very much for sharing this!
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