Climbing to Safety: Making Rooftop Safety a Priority

Rooftop safety should always be a top priority. Stepping foot on a commercial roof can certainly seem a little terrifying. You surrender the small amount of control you have when two feet are firmly planted on the ground. Plus there’s the whole thing about being 20 or 30 feet in the air…maybe 50 or 60 feet if you’re unlucky. There are certain options that can be implemented to help create safer environments while on the roof.

You might be asking why you would need to proactively install rooftop safety features for anyone accessing the roof. Just don’t go near the edge, right? Well, yes. But no. While anyone stepping foot on the roof should be generally aware of the hazards associated with being up on a flat roof, there are a variety of scenarios that could happen, or could have already happened, while someone is up there.

Roof Safety

Weather can play a huge factor on rooftop safety conditions. High winds, rain, morning frost (especially on white roofs), snow and ice can all create issues anyone on the roof will need to work in. Perimeter edges can blend in where the roof levels change creating a fall hazard. Working in an area that is near an edge while the surface is slippery or during high winds can turn a simple loss of balance into a life or death situation. The same can happen at ladder access points, hatch openings and skylights can also prove to be dangerous if a slip and fall occurs.

So, what do you do to help eliminate or at least minimize these conditions? Here is a short list of some available options for each of the 3 main fall hazards while on a roof.


Replace older skylight units with new units that meet OSHA fall protection regulations. Models such as the WASCO Senitinel Series are built to meet or exceed these regulations. This is a simple remove and replace procedure but may require additional safety measures to be implemented while the skylight domes are removed.

Install a skylight safety cage over an existing skylight to provide fall protection.

A skylight safety rail can be mounted to the skylight curb to create a protective barrier around the skylight.

Skylight Safety cages

Roof Hatches

A safety post such as the LadderUP® Safety Post from Bilco can be mounted inside the roof hatch to provide a support for exiting and entering the roof hatch.

Roof hatch guard rail systems are installed around the roof hatch curb and close-in the hatch opening. Access is allowed through a spring-loaded gate which helps to reduce the likelihood of falling through an open hatch. Similar models can also be installed at fixed ladder locations.

Bilco LadderUP® Safety Post
Bilco Roof Hatch Safety Railing System

Perimeter Edges

Rooftop safety warning lines can be erected along perimeter edges and are very inexpensive to put in place. These can become a maintenance item as the flags and line typically deteriorate over time from the elements. They are only a warning system though and do not protect against falls.

Weighted rail systems utilize weighted bases and can be moved if required but do offer protection against falls unlike warning lines.

Mounted rail systems are a permanent solution for perimeter fall protection. They can be mounted directly to the roof deck or installed under metal edges or copings at the perimeter. The deck mounted options require surgical removal of the roof system and need to be flashed into the roof after installation. The non-penetrating option is installed under the metal flashing and don’t require additional flashings.

Roof Perimeter Safety Rail

As you can see, there are quite a few options to make your rooftop a safer place to work.

There are many rooftop safety options available and some companies like Leading Edge Safety will even create custom applications to fit your specific needs. It doesn’t take much to put some of these measures in place and most can be installed by a quality roofing contractor.

Give us a call at 800-710-7525 if you think the people working on your roof could benefit from some of these safety measures. We are happy to discuss these options and more.

Do you need rooftop safety equipment installed?

Contact Jurin Roofing Services to request a quote

Recent Posts
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!