Each job site, as you are well aware, brings its own set of variables that can change the way you approach the job, and the tools you use to complete it. That is why each company needs to have a variety of supplies in their arsenal. As owners and employees of these businesses, assessing job sites to create the best strategy for completion is just as important, if not more so, than the tools used in the first place.
Of course, adding a few stories between you and the ground can quickly increase the importance of your strategy.
When you are beginning your ascent to the top of a clients roof, safety is of utmost importance. There is no substitution for training, and we always recommend getting trained for any off-the-ground work (this post isn’t a substitute for training!). Think of it as an added tool to your window cleaning arsenal.
Begin by finding a suitable anchor. A suitable anchor is considered anything that can hold at least five thousand pounds (see OSHA 1926.502(d)(15)). Although you may not weigh all of those five thousand pounds, the shock from any fall can add up to a lot more than your weight. Therefore, an anchor that can hold five thousand pounds is the bare minimum to meet qualifications.
There are two standard anchor solutions we see for residential rooftops.
The best solution is an anchor of sorts that is already in place. An example of this would be a sturdy chimney stack. In that particular instance, you would wrap an anchor strap around the chimney and attach a carabiner to the wrap’s D Ring, which in turn, would connect to your rope or SLR (Self Retracting Lifeline). To work well, the anchor needs to be strong enough and in the right place.
But for those of us that don’t always live in an ideal world, you have another option.
The other option is to find an anchor on the ground, on the opposite side of your position, and use the roof as leverage. Often people will throw a rope over the roof and attach it to a tree on the other side of the house. This method works particularly well if you are working with a slanted roof.
It’s important to remember if you have a rope on one side and are working on the opposite, the side edges of the roof become a dangerous location for a potential fall. Make sure that you have appropriate clearance with where you are working, and from any areas where you could fall.
If there is nothing on the ground or on the roof to use as an anchor, you still have another option.
A hitch plate is a tool that connects to the hitch of a truck and enables the vehicle to act as an anchor. With this, you can always have a reliable anchor and one that you can move to fit your needs.
Safety is always the first strategy in any job. Training is essential before accepting any job that requires you to work off the ground. With that said, jobs that take a little more problem solving can often be worth the time, effort, and money put into them.
If you are interested in learning about what to connect an anchor to, click here.