Safe Solutions

Green roof system fall-protection considerations

Although widely used in Europe, green roof systems are relatively new to the U.S. As a result, U.S. roofing contractors just now are becoming more familiar with green roof system design, installation and maintenance. They are realizing technical issues such as waterproofing, insulation, root barriers and drainage must be evaluated along with suitability of soils and plantings comprising a green roof system. Roofing contractors also need to pay special attention to fall-protection issues related to green roof systems that may not arise during conventional roof system installations or maintenance.

A special consideration

Green roof system installation requires a broader analysis of fall protection—a larger variety of workers may need to perform tasks on the completed green roof system than would be needed on a conventional roof system.

Although roofing workers are subject to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) construction standards and associated fall-protection systems found in 29 CFR 1926.500-3, landscaping workers, who may be subcontracted by roofing contractors to install green roof system plantings, might be subject to OSHA general industry standards for fall protection. The deciding factor is whether the work landscaping workers are performing would be considered construction, alteration or repair according to the construction standards.