Journal of Light Construction senior editor Andrew Wormer writes on the best roofing safety practices to comply with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If you have the right equipment and the right attitude, working safely on roofs won't be difficult. Wormer writes:

By now, most builders know that OSHA’s interim fall-protection guidelines have been replaced with stricter safety rules. Any employee working more than 6 feet above ground — or above a lower level — needs to be protected from falls by one of several OSHA-approved methods. This article focuses on roof work, but fall protection is also usually needed when installing floor joists, framing walls and roofs, and installing millwork and siding, and in all cases it involves similar techniques and equipment.

For contractors like Dave Molloy, who owns a roofing company that does both commercial and residential work in the Cincinnati area, the phase-out of the interim guidelines has meant changes in the ways his residential crews operate. “Under the old rules, we could simply set up our roof jacks and still be OSHA-compliant,” he says. “Now we also have to install anchors and use safety lines and harnesses, even though we still need the roof jacks to work safely.” Molloy estimates that the new measures increase the labor costs of his average residential job by 5% to 10%."

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