February 6, 2024

Are Rooftop Guardrails Worth The Expense?

Investing in Rooftop Safety Products: A Smart Choice for Building Owners

As a building owner, you are responsible for the maintenance and profitability of your property and the safety of those who access it. Investing in rooftop safety products is much like purchasing insurance. It ensures the well-being of your employees, contractors, and visitors, and also safeguards you against potential legal and financial repercussions.

Rooftop Safety as Insurance

Just like insurance, rooftop safety measures are about managing risk. They may seem like an additional cost upfront, but they are instrumental in preventing accidents and the hefty costs associated with them. An unprotected rooftop can lead to falls and serious injuries, resulting in costly medical bills, lost work time, and even lawsuits.

The cost of installing guardrails is a small investment compared to potential legal and medical expenses resulting from a fall. Legal settlements, medical bills, and increased insurance premiums can far exceed the initial cost of guardrail installation.

Consider the potential costs associated with workplace accidents, such as worker’s compensation claims, legal fees, and possible fines from regulatory authorities.

The Cost of Negligence: Lawsuit Examples

One death and one case of injury led to a total of $264,000 in fines for two Canadian companies recently.
Read about it on the Canadian Occupational Safety website here:

In cases where negligence is evident, there could be criminal charges filed against responsible parties, including company executives. Legal repercussions may include fines, penalties, or even imprisonment. For example, if an employee falls from a rooftop, and investigations reveal a lack of proper safety measures like guardrails, the company may face criminal charges for negligence.

A recent situation in Canada where the foreman was acquitted, but a reminder of how criminal charges may apply:

Compliance with Building Codes

Building codes are another critical factor. These regulations, which vary by location, often mandate specific safety measures for buildings, especially for those with accessible rooftops. Non-compliance can lead to fines, legal action, and in extreme cases, the closure of your building until violations are rectified.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failing to adhere to building codes can have far-reaching consequences. Apart from legal and financial penalties, there’s the risk of increased insurance premiums or, worse, the inability to secure insurance coverage. This non-compliance can also negatively impact the value of your property and its attractiveness to potential lessees or buyers.

How do Guardrails Compare to Other Options?

Active vs. Passive Fall Protection - Which is Better?

Active and passive fall protection systems are crucial components in ensuring worker safety at elevated work sites. Each system has its own set of advantages and considerations, and the choice between them often depends on the specific work environment and tasks involved. Let’s compare active and passive fall protection systems, using the example of a safety harness and lanyard (active) versus rooftop guardrails (passive).

For more about Passive vs. Passive rooftop protection, read our article here:

Guardrails: The Superior Safety Solution

When it comes to rooftop safety options, guardrails stand out for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a physical barrier, preventing accidental falls. Unlike personal protective equipment (PPE), which relies on the user’s correct application, guardrails offer passive protection without requiring active user involvement.

Guardrails are cost-effective in the long run. They are durable, require minimal maintenance, and offer protection under various weather conditions. Their visibility is a constant reminder of rooftop boundaries, and they can be customized to fit the aesthetics of your building.

Are Guardrails worth it? It’s a resounding “YES”!

Investing in rooftop safety, particularly in guardrails, is a prudent decision for any building owner. It is a proactive measure that not only ensures compliance with building codes but also provides a solid defence against potential lawsuits and accidents. This investment, much like insurance, offers peace of mind, knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to protect your property and those who use it. Make rooftop safety a priority today for a safer and more secure tomorrow.

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