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Commercial Low Slope Roof Safety

rooftop workspace with green, yellow and red safety zones highlighted

Everything you need to know about the new OSHA low slope roof requirements relating to general industry.

As most people are aware, OSHA has recently updated the 1910.28(b)(13) walking-working surface standard. OSHA defines low-slope roofs as any roof that “has a slope less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).” If your roof exceeds a 4 inch vertical rise for every 12 inches of horizontal length, then this osha low slope roof requirement rule will affect you.

man standing in the "red zone" too close to the edge of a roof

Risk Area 1 - 6ft from the edge

OSHA 1910.28(b)(13)(i)

Risk Area 1 accounts for the 6 feet closest to the leading edge and therefore the most dangerous area on the rooftop. When a person is working in this area, OSHA requires conventional fall protection. Depending on the application, KATTGUARD Guardrail Systems provide passive fall protection.

Risk Area 2 - 6-15ft from the edge

OSHA 1910.28(b)(13)(ii)

Risk Area 2 covers the area 6 feet to 15 feet from the leading edge. Conventional fall protection is required as danger remains high due to the proximity to the roof edge. If the work being performed is “infrequent and temporary,” the employer may use a designated area. Designated areas are typically created by using a warning line system. (When OSHA released the rule, OSHA had acknowledged, “Although the final rule does not place a specific time limit on what constitutes a temporary task, OSHA agrees with SMACNA that short duration tasks generally are those that take less than ‘1-2 hours’ to complete. KATTGUARD Guadrail Systems provide protection when performing frequent and/or not temporary tasks. KATTGUARD Warning Line Systems provide protection when performing infrequent and temporary tasks.

man standing in the "yellow zone" - not the safest area of a roof workspace
man standing in the "green zone" - the safest area of a roof workspace

Risk Area 3 - 15+ft from the edge

OSHA 1910.28(b)(13)(iii)

Risk Area 3 is the least dangerous, but still requires safety measures to ensure worker safety. When work is performed 15 feet or more form the roof edge, the employer must protect each employee by providing a fall protection system or a designated area. If the work being performed is “infrequent and temporary,” fall protection isn’t required, but we still recommend it. KATTGUARD Guardrail Systems will provide a fall protection system and KATTGUARD Warning Line Systems will provide a designated area. 

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