Many building code provisions attempt to establish minimum
requirements for structural strength, entry and exit, lighting,
ventilation, fire control and other elements to safeguard occupants
of new and existing buildings. Features such as hallway and
staircase width, ambient and emergency lighting, door sizes,
plumbing fixture heights, fire prevention components, and staircase
and balcony railing requirements are just a few design elements
that may be addressed by building code provisions.
On a roof, few building code provisions exist to safeguard
workers exposed to unprotected edges, skylights, roof hatches and
other openings. Because of that void, responsibility for protecting
workers from dangers inherent in a building's design with respect
to roofing activities rests with the construction trades, including
roofing contractors, who must access rooftops to perform work.
As a result, worker safety often balances precariously on the
quality of temporary fall-protection equipment; worker
understanding, proficiency in setup and operation of such
equipment; the equipment's suitability for hazards specific to the
building; and full compliance by workers using safety
In 2005, a group of NRCA
members and a member of RCI Inc. began identifying building design
elements essential to ensuring worker safety during roof system
construction and maintenance activities. Numerous meetings, writing
and editorial sessions, and conference calls during the years have
resulted in a document that establishes NRCA's recommendations with respect to
building design elements intended to safeguard workers on roofs.
Design Elements for Enhanced Fall Protection for Construction and
Maintenance Personnel: An NRCA Perspective, the document
can be downloaded for free from NRCA's website,
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