Court Reviews New Fall Protection Rule in Challenge

By Bruce Rolfsen

A federal appeals court has been asked to review OSHA’s new fall protection rule for general industry that covers about 112 million workers ( Corp. Cleaning Serv. Inc. v. OSHA, 7th Cir. App., No. 16-4244, 12/27/16 ).

The rule takes effect Jan. 17, though some compliance deadlines are delayed.

Corporate Cleaning Services Inc., a Chicago company specializing in high-rise window washing, is requesting the court review. The petition for review was filed Dec. 27 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.

The company supports the majority of the fall protection provisions of OSHA’s new fall protection rule, the firm’s attorney, Nora Flaherty of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella PC, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 30.

Corporate Cleaning is seeking review of a single provision, 29 C.F.R. 1910.27(b)(2)(i), which concerns rope descents at heights over 300 feet. The company is challenging the 300-foot provision because it is based on misinformation received by OSHA several years ago, Flaherty said.

Specifically, Flaherty said, the company believes OSHA shouldn’t have relied on an obsolete 2001 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) voluntary standard, ANSI/IWCA I–14.1–2001 Window Cleaning Safety.

The committee that drafted the rule was made up of members who had a vested interest in the design, manufacture and use of scaffolding or swing stage equipment, Flaherty said.

OSHA was unaware of many of the problems because they didn’t come to light until after OSHA completed its hearing in January 2011, Flaherty said.

The OSHA rule includes a note from the agency that the voluntary standard was withdrawn by ANSI in October 2011. The note also says that OSHA rejected a union’s complaint about the makeup of the ANSI committee because the panel was accredited by ANSI at the time and the 2001 standard was approved by ANSI.

Updates 45-Year-Old Rule

The fall protection rule (81 Fed. Reg. 82,494) updates the 45-year-old walking-working surfaces standards (29 C.F.R. 1910 Subpart D) and the personal protective equipment standards (29 C.F.R. 1910 Subpart I) by taking into account changes to safety practices and gear made since 1971.

The rulemaking began in 1990 during the first Bush administration and went through two hearings and three comment periods before the final rule was issued Nov. 18.

Because the rule (RIN:1218-AB80) will take effect late in the Obama administration and has implementation costs of more than $100 million annually, the rule could face review by the Trump administration and the next Congress under the provisions of the Congressional Review Act.

Ira Levin and Nora Flaherty of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella PC in Chicago represent Corporate Cleaning Services.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl

For More Information

The petition for review is available at

The rule is available at

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Reproduced with permission from Occupational Safety & Health Reporter 47 OSHR 14 (Jan. 5, 2017). Copyright 2017 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <>


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health administration 29 CFR, Part 1910 [Docket No. OSHA–2007–0072] RIN 1218-AB80

Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems)

· OSHA has published its revising and updating general industry standards on walking-working surfaces to prevent and reduce workplace falls, as well as other injuries and fatalities associated with window cleaning and suspended stage work.

·      Significant changes are included for building owners/property managers in reference to fall protection. Building owners must identify, inspect, test, certify, and maintain anchorages for both new and existing buildings and re-certify, as necessary (at least every 10 years).

·      The regulation includes new provisions addressing fixed ladders, rope descent systems and fall protection systems; including anchor inspection, certification and responsibilities.

The rule becomes effective on January 17, 2017. Some date requirements in the final rule have compliance dates after the effective date.

In developing this final rule, OSHA determined that identifying, inspecting, testing, certifying, and maintaining anchorages and providing information about the anchorages must be the responsibility of building owners. OSHA stated in their published preamble of the regulations that only when building owners take responsibility for anchorages and provide written information to employers and contractors, can there be adequate assurance that workers will be safe when they use RDS (Rope Descent Systems). Final paragraph (b)(1)(ii) establishes a new provision that requires employers to ensure that no employee uses any anchorage before their employer obtains written information from the building owner.

“In other words, the final rule requires that employers ensure no employee uses an RDS until the employer obtains written information that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage, so it is capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds in any direction for each worker attached. The final rule also requires that the employer keep the written Information from the building owner for the duration of the job. “

The final rule now emphasizes that building owners must provide assurance information to service contractors or employers that anchor systems have been inspected by a ‘‘qualified’’ person who has conducted the inspection and provided certification. The final rule defines “qualified” as: “a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project” (§ 1910.21(b)).

The final rule, similar to the construction scaffold rules, defines “scaffold” as: “a temporary elevated or suspended platform and its supporting structure, including anchorage points, used to support employees, equipment, materials, and other items’’. OSHA is proposing that general industry comply with the construction industry’s scaffold standards in 29 CFR 1926(L). By requiring employers in general industry comply with the construction scaffold standards, consistency will be achieved, as well as a decrease in any confusion that would likely arise if the standards were different between these two industries.

OSHA also acknowledges that its powered platforms standard contains a requirement similar to the final rule (§ 1910.66(c)(4)). Also, the I–14.1–2001 standard requires that employers (i.e.:  window cleaning contractors) and building owners not allow suspended work to occur unless the building owner provides, identifies and certifies anchorages (Section 3.9).

“Under the final rule, employers are not to allow workers to attach to an anchorage and begin work if the employer did not receive written certification that the anchorage is capable of supporting 5,000 pounds. Specifically, final paragraph (b)(1)(ii) prohibits employers, when there are no certified anchorages, from ‘‘making do’’ or attaching RDS to alternative structures, making the assumption that these structures are capable of supporting 5,000 pounds. “

Finally, OSHA believes that the written information on anchorages that building owners must provide to employers will be helpful for employers throughout the job. Employers can use the information to keep workers continuously informed about which anchorages have proper certification. The information will also be helpful if there are work shift-related changes in personnel, if the employer brings new workers to the job, or if there is a change in site supervisors. Therefore, the final rule is requiring employers to retain the written information on anchorages they obtained from building owners for the duration of the job at that building. In final paragraph (b)(1)(iii), OSHA provides employers and building owners with additional time to implement the requirements in final paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii). The final rule gives employers and building owners one year from November 18, 2016 to meet the new requirements in final paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii). This means that building owners must identify, inspect, test, certify, and maintain each anchorage by the compliance date.

The new standard also recognized that it has been 23 years since OSHA’s 1991 Patricia Clarke memorandum allowed the use of RDS, provided they have ‘‘sound anchorages”. However, the agency also addressed other important concerns when developing the final rule; Namely proper rigging including a maximum height for RDS, the use of suction cups as local stabilization and tool lanyards to prevent public injury.

OSHA retained the RDS height limit in the final rule because the I–14.1–2001 national consensus standard included the same limit. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the I–14.1–2001 standard, and industry widely uses it. OSHA believes the national consensus standard reflects industry best practices.

OSHA believes proper rigging of RDS equipment is essential to ensure that the system is safe for workers to use. To ensure proper RDS rigging and safe use, OSHA believes that employers also must take into consideration and emphasize the specific conditions present. For example, OSHA believes that giving particular emphasis to providing tiebacks when using counter weights, cornice hooks, or similar non-permanent anchorages is an essential aspect of proper rigging and necessary to ensure safe work.

To illustrate, when tiebacks and anchorages are not perpendicular to the building face, it may be necessary for worker safety for employers to install opposing tiebacks to support and firmly secure the RDS, have at least a 30-degree sag angle for opposing tiebacks, or ensure that no angle exists on single tiebacks.

Final paragraph (b)(2)(vi), like proposed paragraph (b)(2)(v) and the 1991 RDS memorandum, requires that each worker uses a separate, independent personal fall arrest system, when using an RDS.

Final § 1910.140(b) defines “personal fall arrest system” as: “a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a walking-working surface”.  A personal fall arrest system consists of at least an anchorage, connector, and a body harness, but also may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combination of these devices (§ 1910.140(b)).

The final rule requires that the personal fall arrest system meets the requirements in 29 CFR part 1910, sub-part I, particularly final § 1910.140. This final rule is consistent with other existing OSHA standards (e.g.: § 1910.66(j), Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance, Personal Fall Protection; § 1926.451(g), Scaffolds, Fall Protection), as well as the I–14.1 consensus standard (Section 5.7.6).

“OSHA believes the provision is essential to protect workers from injury or death if a fall occurs. As the 1991 RDS memorandum mentions, requiring workers to use personal fall arrest systems that are completely independent of RDS ensures that any failure of the RDS ( e.g.:  main friction device, seat board, support line, anchorage) does not affect the ability of the fall arrest system to quickly stop the worker from falling to a lower level. “

OSHA believes that suction cups are widely used and accepted by employers and workers who use RDS, (even by those employers who doubt the need for stabilization) because the devices have a track record of being effective and economical. As far back as July 31, 1991, OSHA allowed employers to use suction cups to meet the stabilization requirement in the 1991 RDS memorandum. OSHA notes that a review of the rule-making record failed to show that suction cups cause anything more than a few isolated cases of window breakage.

OSHA believes the performance-based approach in the final rule assures that employers have maximum flexibility in meeting the requirement to secure equipment (e.g.: tools, squeegees, buckets) that workers use. Many different types of tool lanyards and similar methods are currently available to secure equipment. Tool lanyards and other securing equipment are available in many types, lengths, and load capacities. A worker can secure the equipment at various points, including the worker’s wrist, tool belt, harness, and seat board.

According to OSHA, the rule also incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices, and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection. Specifically, the rule updates general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards (subpart D), and adds a new section specifying requirements for personal fall protection systems (subpart I). “The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, David Michaels, PhD. “OSHA believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and injuries from falls.” The agency estimates this rule will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year. Most provisions of the rule take effect on January 17, 2017.

Other highlights of the rule include:

  • The rule requires employers to protect workers from fall hazards along unprotected sides or edges that are at least 4 feet above a lower level. It also sets requirements for fall protection in specific situations, such as hoist areas, runways, areas above dangerous equipment, wall openings, repair pits, stairways, scaffolds, and slaughtering platforms. It also establishes requirements for the performance, inspection, use, and maintenance of personal fall protection systems.
  • The rule codifies a 1991 OSHA memorandum that permits employers to use Rope Descent Systems (RDS), which consist of a roof anchorage, support rope, descent device, carabiners or shackles, and a chair or seat board. These systems are widely used throughout the country to perform elevated work, such as window washing.
  • The new rule includes requirements to protect workers from falling off fixed and portable ladders, as well as mobile ladder stands and platforms.
  • The rule adds a requirement that employers ensure workers who use personal fall protection and work in other specified high-hazard situations are trained, and retrained as necessary, about fall and equipment hazards, including fall protection systems.

The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on November 18. On January 17, 2017 (60 days after its publication date), all provisions will take effect, with the following exceptions:

  • Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (6 months);
  • Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (6 months);
  • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year);
  • Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (2 years);
  • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (2 years); and
  • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years).


OSHA’s Final Rule to Update, Align, and Provide Greater roof top safety

Everyone is responsible for preventing falls when working on a roof. The building owner/property manager, the self-employed contractor, any subcontractor and the worker are each responsible for safety considerations.

Health and safety on the roof starts when the decision is made to access the roof or work begins near the roof edge. All aspects of working safely at a height should be considered. The general rule is: A fall protection system is required when there is a fall hazard of more than 10 feet and where the roof parapet edge is less than 42 inches tall. (plus or minus 3 inches)

” Preventing falls from heights is a priority for federal OSHA. Building owners are responsible to actively manage any significant hazard and provide assurances to the employers / contractors working at a height . .”

Doing nothing to address safety is not an option. In order to stay safe when working at a height, you need to ensure effective controls are in place to prevent people being harmed. To select the most effective controls, you must consider the following steps:

Eliminate the chances of a fall by doing as much of the preparation work as possible before work begins. Normally this is done by doing a fall hazard roof assessment. The assessment report will review all aspects of safe access and egress for all work activities that may take place on the roof. The intent is to isolate the worker from the risk of a fall by using roof edge protection guard rails as means of prevention. In some situations a combination of controls will be required to ensure safe work.

“falls from heights starts with a professional fall assessment of your roof top.”

Edge protection should be used as a means of isolating workers from a fall. This includes guard rails, horizontal life lines, localized tieback and lifeline anchors.

Edge protection should be provided on all the exposed edges of a roof, including the perimeter of buildings, skylights or other fragile roof materials and for any openings in the roof. This also applies to openings and edges of floor areas. Where there is the risk of workers falling through openings in a roof, the openings should be identified and guarded.



  • A full hazard assessment of the roof is needed before work starts? Developing a checklist and work plan is good practice.
  • Are workers trained or supervised to work on a roof, near the roof edge or over the edge using suspended equipment safely? Is there safe access to all roof areas including a review of access ladders and catwalks?
  • Have the roof and fall arrest system been inspected, reviewed and tested if needed and has the building owner/ property manager provided assurance that the system is suitable for the intended work to safely access the building edge or facade?
  • Have all the access restrictions been identified and understood by the contractors in order to protected them from falling off roof edges and do they have a rescue plan?
  • Are workers protected from falling through skylights, vulnerable penetrations or other brittle roof conditions and Are people below the work protected from the dangers of falling materials?
  • Are the weather conditions suitable for working on a roof and do roof workers have appropriate footwear to prevent them from slipping?
  • Have lower electrical hazards and vehicle traffic hazards been identified?

Other possible considerations may be to eliminate the hazard of a fall from a roof and work from the ground using extension poles,scaffolding and mobile elevating work platform.

It’s the law – doing nothing is not an option!

Compliance with the legal requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is the responsibility of anyone associated with working at a height in a place of work. The law recognizes that the building owner/property manager has the necessary means to control, eliminate, isolate and minimize fall hazards.

See federal OSHA new fall protection mandate that effects existing buildings with anchors.

For more information call 1-800-461-0575

Building Owners and property managers must certify their roof anchors within one year!

OSHA has revising and updating its general industry standards on walking-working surfaces to prevent and reduce workplace falls, as well as other injuries and fatalities associated with window cleaning and suspended stage work.

Significant changes are included for fall protection systems, including identified, tested, certified, awindow-cleaning-high-rise-copynd maintained each anchorage. The rule becomes effective on January 17, 2017, and will affect all Pro-Bel systems through out the USA except for California and New York. Its important to contact Pro-Bel inspection department at 1-800-461-0575. Please note certification of Pro-Bel systems can only be inspected, tested and certified by Pro-Bel or a Pro-Bel authorized agent.

OSHA addressed the category with the second largest compliance costs, scaffolds and rope descent systems, the final standard provides greater specificity than the proposal regarding the need for proper rigging, including sound anchorages and tiebacks. The final rule at § 1910.27(b)(1)(i) and (ii) states that before any rope descent system is used, the building owner must inform the employer, in writing that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) in any direction, for each employee attached and, moreover, that the employer must ensure that no employee uses any anchorage before the employer has obtained written information from the building owner that each anchorage meets the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i). Finally, the employer must keep the information on building anchorages for the duration of the job. The information must be based on an annual inspection conducted by a qualified person, with certification of each anchorage performed by a qualified person, as necessary, but at least every 10 years. As described earlier in this cost analysis, OSHA assumed that building owners and employers would comply with this requirement by scheduling periodic inspections and certifications of building anchorages.

Feel free to contact Marc Lebel, CEO @ 1800-461-0575

Why is the initial inspection important to the General Contractor?


Since I began managing the Pro-Bel US Inspection Department back in 2014, we have completed over 3500 annual inspections on roof anchors, davits, monorail, rigging sleeves and fall protection systems.

While most inspections go as planned, there are those systems that have not been inspected for years. For one reason or another, the system was not installed per the drawings and the final drawings do not correspond to the installation which may be a surprise to the Property Manager.

There are a myriad of reasons as to why the roof anchor system may not be installed per plans and specifications, however, if an initial inspection was performed prior to substantial completion of the project, all deficiencies would have been addressed and documented.

An initial inspection would not only ensure that the end users have a system that is safe and compliant, but would also protect the General Contractor from litigation.

So, what is an initial inspection and how do you sign up for one?

An initial inspection is just what it says.  It is a first time/initial “technical audit inspection”. Pro-Bel inspects for system defects, compliance issues and as-built locations of equipment. Our inspectors take photos of the equipment installed and document both positive and negative findings.  We will work with you to ensure that any deficiencies are corrected.

The second component to this initial inspection is having the equipment load tested as prescribed by our Engineering Department.  The load test may be important if there is any question about installation or structural integrity of the building.

If there is an issue with the structure, it is much easier and more cost effective to install reinforcing when the ceilings are open during construction rather than trying to retrofit an occupied building years later.

At Pro-Bel, our goal is to help General Contractors deliver a complete system to their clients so that there are no issues in the coming years with respect to safety, compliance or inspection after the building is turned over to the owner.


One of our US Inspectors on-site

Pro-Bel has the largest network of certified inspectors and technicians in the industry and we are looking forward to earning and keeping your trust.

General Contractors can contact Brian Barks at to obtain a bid to have Pro-Bel perform the recommended initial inspection.

– Brent LaPorte, US Inspections Manager







It’s Spring!

Well, we are a couple of weeks into spring and in both our personal and professional lives we look forward to spring cleaning.  Maybe not look forward to it, but it is inevitable that cob webs need to be swept away, lawns need to be fertilized and windows need to be cleaned.

Most of our clients are on an annual roof anchor inspection program where we proactively book the inspection so that there is no delay in getting their windows cleaned.

However, we do get the odd emergency call for an anchor inspection because the sirentenants of a residential or commercial building are continually asking “When are we getting the windows washed?”

Thankfully, we have a team of inspection professionals across North America who can be on your facility often, within days of receiving such a call.

While we do our best to spread these annual inspections throughout the year, spring is our busiest season.

Our sales team of Beverly Bean and newly hired, Brian Barks, can provide you with a proposal to have your roof anchors, roof davits, monorail or fall protection systems inspected in a timely fashion.  With our electronic report writing system and customer portal, you can have the system approved for use and have access to your reports and roof anchor drawings with little or no effort on your part.

If you are not part of the growing number of clients who are enjoying the benefit of the Customer Portal, please contact us to see how you can gain access to all of your roof anchor inspection documents and rigging drawings.  You can access this portal from any device and download and share with your window cleaning contractors or with any compliance officials who may visit your site to check your documentation.

Everything that our team at Pro-Bel has come up with, that is available to any of our clients, is to ensure you have easy access to all of your inspection documents at all times.

The two most important documents that your professional window cleaner will want to see are the inspection report and the rigging drawings which show the roof anchor locations, roof anchor details and any notes with respect to restricted areas and rigging diagrams.

If you do not have access to your up to date inspection report or rigging drawings, documentsplease contact Pro-Bel to provide you with both.  If you do not have rigging drawings, our technicians can perform an initial inspection and identify existing roof anchors or roof davits, complete a take off and provide rigging advice and ultimately approve the equipment for use.


So, as we look forward to longer, warmer days, we are also reminded of some of those “chores” that must be done.  Pro-Bel can assist you in checking at least one item off of your long list of to do items.  This will ensure that you get your windows washed in a timely fashion and when your tenants look out their home or office windows, they do so with a smile.

To our existing clients, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and to new clients, we look forward to working with you.

To book a new inspection please contact Brian Barks at or existing clients with questions please contact Account Manager Beverly Bean at  Load testing or maintenance should be directed to Michael Gardner at  Of course you can call us direct at 800-461-0575.

As always, if you have any comments, complaints, or questions, feel free to contact me direct and I will do my best to ensure that your concerns or questions are answered quickly and to your complete satisfaction.

Yours in safety,


Brent La Porte



“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop” – Mark Twain

Interesting quote from one of the wittiest authors of all time.  As I create an outline for my monthly blog, I am reminded that sometimes too much information is truly too much information, particularly when discussing the dynamic topic of roof anchor inspections.

We in the industry are inclined to throw all sorts of codes and standards at our prospective clients, advising how Federal OSHA and ANSI I-14 mandate that the permanently installed fall protection equipment be inspected on an annual basis by a competent person and citing section numbers that quite frankly, I have to look up every time I’m asked.

So, in keeping with the theme I will tell you all what I know and then stop.


  • If you have roof anchors, roof davits or any type of fall protection equipment on your facility that it MUST be inspected on an annual basis.
  •  This is required by not only ANSI and Federal OSHA but by every major equipment manufacturer.
  •  Every day across the United States tens of thousands of workers put their lives at risk by performing dangerous tasks either while suspended 40 floors above a busy street or walking a narrow beam or ledge in a bustling factory.
  •  These workers rely on the equipment they are attached to or suspended by to be in good working order to ensure they get home safely to their families every
  •  Having this equipment inspected and maintained, annually as a minimum requirement, is the first step in protecting your workers and contractors from harm.
  •  The cost of an annual inspection cannot be compared to the cost of a human life or to the quality of human life.
  •  If we had to quantify the cost of an annual inspection against the cost of an OSHA fine or civil litigation that it would not even be 1% of 1%.
  •  Most folks are not intentionally disregarding having these inspections done.
  •  By educating our current and prospective clients that we will earn and retain their business for years to come.
  •  I have the most diverse and experienced team of technicians across North America.
  •  My in house staff is efficient and dedicated to providing our clients a superior service experience.
  •  As a client if you are not satisfied with the service you received I will personally make it right.

Lastly, I know that if you call and ask me where it says you have to have your roof anchors inspected that I will have to look it up and send you the link. I also know that I’ll be happy to do it.

 As always, contact me direct with any questions, comments or concerns.

Brent La Porte






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“Whose Liability is it Anyways?”

It’s the end of a successful 2015 and as a Department Manager I am inclined to sit back and reflect on what my department did well, what we did not do well and on how we can grow the business while continuing to exceed our customer’s expectations.

This type of introspection forces me to look at just what our “business” really is. Sure we at Pro-Bel inspect and load test roof anchors, roof davits and most other types of fall protection equipment. But what service do we really offer our clients?

Clearly it is important to have the Federal OSHA mandated roof anchor/davit inspections conducted, but when I really delve into what we are offer our clients I find myself settling on peace of mind.

The peace of mind we offer is truly a form of risk management in that as a property manager, facility manager or building owner, you can rest assured that the inspection of the equipment by Pro-Bel has been completed by competent, honest and reliable technicians.

Of course this peace of mind is provided if your facility has suitable roof anchors/roof davits which have been designed and engineered for the purpose of which they are being used. What if your facility does not have roof anchors or fall protection? How is Pro-Bel meeting your needs with respect to managing risk on those buildings and how can we be of service moving forward?

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some interesting conversations with Marc Lebel, our Founder and CEO, regarding this very topic and it seemed to me to be a natural fit for the first blog of 2016.

Marc and I are working together to see how we can help building owners identify and manage the risk associated with not only workers performing suspended maintenance work on our clients buildings, but any worker who is accessing the roof. This ranges from your own staff to HVAC Service Technicians. At any given time these workers may be exposed to the hazard of a fall of 4’ or greater and as such some form of fall protection shall be provided by the controlling employer.

Stage FailBut, who is the controlling employer? Is it the owner of the HVAC or window cleaning company or is it the property management firm or the Board of Directors of the condominium corporation? This question (through Marc’s help) has led me to an interesting document which discusses Federal OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy.

In this policy Federal OSHA defines the four types of employers and discusses their responsibilities throughout a project or task. The four types of employers are the Controlling Employer, Creating Employer, Exposing Employer and Correcting Employer.

While I won’t go into detail in this particular blog, I will advise that throughout 2016 Pro-Bel will assist our clients as to what category they fall into and how, by identifying this, they can minimize exposure and risk of civil and criminal liability.

Through a program we are developing, we will identify hazards on a particular project, whether or not there is existing fall protection and develop a program as to how to protect workers from injury and controlling employers from risk of liability.

We will educate our clients on codes and standards, common rigging practices and options available to ensure that any recognized hazards are eliminated.

Our goal is not to just provide our clients with roof anchors or roof davits. We want clients with a risk management issue to know that there are alternatives and assist them in developing a plan to minimize the risk which explores all of the options.

In 2016 Pro-Bel will work with you to explain your liability and exposure when allowing any person on your roof and how to ensure that this access is controlled.

Pro-Bel will be sending out regular updates on this blog throughout 2016, posting data that is both interesting and informative. We look forward to your comments, questions and concerns regarding anything to do with fall protection, roof safety, roof anchors or roof davits.

Yours in safety,

Brent LaPorte




Brent LaPorte

USA Inspections Manager

We are hiring Technical Sales Support Representative


Technical Sales Support Representative Role:

We are looking for a technically-oriented individual to join our sales support team. This person will provide day-to-day assistance to our technical sales managers. As part of the sales team, this position will also help support new revenue growth by working with the technical sales managers in developing and delivering sales and design proposals, answering RFP and RFQs for our new and existing customer base.

The Sales Support Representative Duties:

• Provide first line, inbound, technical support and guidance for our customers (Architects & Engineers, General Contractors, Facility Managers, and Property Managers/Building Owners).
• Be responsible for overall coordination and execution of tasks related to sales opportunities and technical customer support inquiries.
• Own the creation and workflow management in our internal CRM system of qualified sales opportunities and technical support opportunity management by creating, updating and maintaining leads, prospects and opportunities as information is gathered reactively or proactively.
• Work with the General Sales Manager and/or Engineering department when responding to product information requests.
• Help maintain a paperless work environment (whenever practical), ensuring all external interactions are captured in our sales system, are accurate, and up to date
• Ability to facilitate and deliver sales product demonstrations, in person or online (i.e. go to meeting now) or other sales actions as needed.
• Respond to technical service calls / emails from regional customers and provide support
• Identify new sales opportunities using our marketing process.
• Work with marketing to set up and work tradeshows as needed.

Knowledge/Skills/Experience Recommendations:

• Strong work ethic, efficiency, organizational skills and attention to detail
• Excellent telephone and email etiquette
• Sales and technical support experience with demonstrated ability to convey information verbally
• Technical aptitude with ability to learn and understand how to explain our products and technology
• Experience working with and/or reading architectural and structural drawings
• Ability to qualify customer situations, relate product features/benefits and respond to issues
• Skilled user of Word, Excel, and CRM software.

Wood Frame Buildings

A significant change to the Ontario Building Code (OBC) was just revealed that positively affects the fall arrest anchor and tie-back equipment industry. It was recently announced that wood frame buildings can be built up to six storeys tall in Ontario (which is an increase from four storeys) effective January 1, 2015.

Since roof anchor systems are required for maintenance and window washing equipment on buildings that are eight metres tall (usually over three storeys); our industry will see a dramatic shift from concrete and steel mid-rise to wood frame mid-rise.

The OBC change reflects codes in most European and some North American areas. Specifically, the change was made in British Columbia in 2009 and our Vancouver office is regularly seeing projects come through the door with wood frame (probably because of the affordability to the building Owner and the growing demand for mid-rise by the consumer).


While there are certainly challenges with putting our equipment on wood frame buildings there is always a solution.

The equipment should be close to the edge of the building (parapet) and utilize a pinned down outrigger beam to rig. The close proximity to the parapet eliminates a lot of inboard distance and decreases the force on the structure. This method also pulls the anchor away (perpendicular) upward from the structure which decreases the stress on the structure opposed to pulling horizontally (parallel) with the structure. Check out the pinned down outrigger beam detail below.

Portable Pinned Down Outrigger Beam

Like all roof anchors, the load requirements are still 1,000 lbs. (working) and 5,000 lbs. (ultimate). So to achieve this the structure around it must be “blocked up” similar in fashion to reinforcing certain steel structure (like open web steel joist).  There are a couple of examples of a wood structure roof anchors below (however modifications can be Engineered to accommodate the structure).

Wrap Around Wood Anchor

Wood Joist Roof Anchor

Also, like all projects, communication with us (the roof anchor manufacturer) and the Structural Engineer is crucial as all parties need to know specifically where the equipment is going and understand the load requirements.

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