January 10, 2024

How to Perform a Rooftop Safety Audit: A Guide for Commercial and Industrial Building Owners


The safety of workers on rooftops is not just a legal obligation but a paramount concern for commercial and industrial building owners. Performing a rooftop safety audit is a proactive step toward creating a secure working environment. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of rooftop safety audits, emphasizing the complexity of the process and assuring building owners that assistance is readily available.

Rooftop Safety Audits in Canada

Rooftop safety standards exhibit variations not only between countries but also among provinces within a country. In Canada, these standards can differ from one province to another. Building owners must be cognizant of and comply with local safety standards, emphasizing the need to tailor safety audits to specific geographic locations.

Provincial Variations

Safety regulations can differ significantly from one province to another in Canada. It is crucial to be aware of and comply with the specific safety standards and requirements applicable to the province in which your building is located.

Legal Obligations

Rooftop safety audits are a best practice and a legal requirement in many provinces. Compliance with local safety regulations is mandatory to ensure a safe working environment and avoid potential legal consequences.

Fall Protection Requirements

Canada has specific fall protection requirements outlined in regulations such as CSA Z259.16 and CSA Z259.2.1. Building owners must ensure that fall protection measures, such as guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems, are in place and comply with the applicable standards.

Rooftop Safety Audits in the United States

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA is the primary federal agency overseeing workplace safety in the United States. OSHA regulations, such as those found in 29 CFR Part 1926 for construction, provide guidelines for rooftop safety. Building owners must adhere to OSHA standards relevant to their industry and activities.

State-Specific Regulations

In addition to federal OSHA regulations, some states have their own safety and health agencies with specific requirements. Building owners should be aware of any state-specific regulations that may apply to rooftop safety.

Fall Protection Standards

OSHA has specific standards for fall protection (29 CFR 1926 Subpart M) that apply to rooftop work. Building owners must implement appropriate fall protection measures, such as guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems, based on OSHA requirements.

Who Performs the Audit and How to Contact Them

Performing a rooftop safety audit necessitates the expertise of certified safety professionals or specialized audit firms. Building owners can initiate the audit process by reaching out to these professionals. Contacting local safety organizations, certified safety consultants, or firms specializing in industrial safety is the first step. Utilize online directories, industry associations, or government contacts to find and connect with qualified professionals in your area. We also have companies we work with that we can recommend for these audits.

Building owners may benefit from consulting local safety authorities or government agencies to stay informed about specific rooftop safety requirements in their region. Local authorities can provide guidance and resources related to safety compliance.

Is a Rooftop Safety Audit Necessary?

No, a rooftop safety audit is not always legally necessary, however, it can be helpful especially if personnel are unfamiliar with safety requirements and/or hazards. The rooftop safety audit primarily targets building owners, facility managers, and those responsible for the maintenance and safety of a structure. It can be a vital step in ensuring a safe working environment. The audit is designed to identify potential hazards, mitigate risks, and establish a comprehensive safety framework for personnel working at heights.

It is about safeguarding the well-being of workers and preventing potential liabilities. The importance lies in the proactive identification and mitigation of hazards, reducing the risk of accidents and creating a secure environment for everyone involved.

What’s Involved? What are the Steps?

Performing a rooftop safety audit involves a series of steps to comprehensively assess and address safety concerns:

  1. Risk Assessment: Identify and evaluate potential hazards, such as fragile materials, uneven surfaces, or unprotected edges.
  2. Access Points: Evaluate the safety of entry points, including ladders, stairways, and access hatches.
  3. Fall Protection: Examine the need for and condition of guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems.
  4. Equipment Inspection: Assess the condition of safety equipment, such as anchors, lifelines, and safety harnesses.
  5. Emergency Procedures: Establish and review emergency protocols, including rescue plans and first aid procedures.

What to do After the Audit

Execute Fall Protection Requirements

Building owners must ensure that fall protection measures identified during the audit, such as guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems, are in place and comply with the applicable standards

Continuous Compliance

Safety regulations may evolve, and building owners need to stay informed about any changes in rooftop safety standards. Regularly review and update safety protocols to ensure continuous compliance with the latest regulations.


Maintain thorough documentation of rooftop safety audits, including assessment reports, corrective actions taken, and any changes made to improve safety. Proper documentation is valuable for demonstrating compliance during inspections and audits

Employee Training

Ensure that employees on rooftops receive adequate training in rooftop safety procedures and the proper use of safety equipment. Training is a critical component of maintaining a safe work environment.

Getting Started: The First Steps

  1. Research: Identify potential safety professionals or firms specializing in rooftop safety audits.
  2. Consultation: Schedule a consultation to discuss the specific needs and characteristics of your building.
  3. Tailoring the Audit: Collaborate with chosen professionals to ensure the audit aligns with the unique requirements of your commercial or industrial property.

Performing a rooftop safety audit may seem complex, but it is a manageable process. By understanding regional variations, engaging with certified safety professionals, and prioritizing safety, building owners can contribute to a safer working environment. Assistance is available at every step, reinforcing the commitment to creating a secure space for everyone involved.

W.S. Safety is here to help you execute your fall protection requirements, providing all of the equipment you need to ensure you execute properly using quality products.

The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not substitute for professional legal guidance. It is advisable to consult with a qualified legal professional for specific advice tailored to your individual situation.

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