Oregon OSHA's

Health and Safety Resource

Print version

December 2016

Ask Technical
Fall protection

How close to the edge of a deck or floor can employees work before fall protection is required?

They must be far enough back from the edge to eliminate any possibility of a fall under any conditions. Consider all relevant factors to determine a safe distance. Is the surface sloped, uneven, or slippery? Are there tripping hazards? Is there wind, ice, snow, or rain? Could pulling, pushing, or carrying material cause employees to lose their balance? Are employees working from ladders placed next to the edge? Will employees be walking parallel or perpendicular to an unprotected edge? Could they stumble and fall over the edge?

Can I use a warning line to protect employees working next to an unprotected floor edge?

No. Warning lines are not permitted for construction of the roof deck or for leading edge work. Warning lines can be used for roo ng work (which includes hoisting, storing, applying, and removing roo ng materials and equipment). The roof must have a slope of 2:12 or less and the warning line must be at least six feet back from the unprotected roof edge (or 10 feet on roofs where mobile equipment is used).

Can tradespeople other than roofers use warning lines when they are working on a roof?

Yes. You can use a warning line to alert workers that they are approaching an unprotected edge of a roof, oor, or other work surface. The warning line must be set back at least 10 feet – or farther if weather, visibility, or the condition of the work surface increase the risk of a fall. Never use a warning line as a substitute for a guardrail.


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