Fall protection and corrugated metal roofing
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    Fall protection and corrugated metal roofing

    My wife and I are building a small-ish pole barn (18'x29') completely by ourselves. It is the first building either of us has ever built, and it is turning out so much better than I thought it would. We are at the roofing stage, using metal corrugated panels, and we are down to the last few panels on the top section. It has a center aisle with a 12/12 pitch, and side sheds with a 4/12 pitch. But the way we did it, we had a solid loft floor under our feet for most of the steep pitched part. I have a fear of heights (though I have been getting better during this process), and I'm starting to get nervous. I know I'm going to end up out on the roof to finish the top sections.

    So I bought a Werner fall protection system that includes a temporary anchor, a lanyard and rope, and a harness. I also picked up a Guardian cross arm anchor strap. I'm trying to figure out the best anchor to use and the best way to attach the anchor. From what I'm reading, I'm wondering if the temporary anchor is appropriate. For example, they talk about screwing the anchor directly into the sheathing. But we are doing a basic old fashioned pole barn with the metal put down directly on purlins.

    Anyone else used one of these anchors and harnesses with corrugated metal roofing?
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    over the top

    The easy thing to do is drop a rope over the top of the building from the side you are working on and anchor it to something solid on the other side. With corrugated metal you might have to protect the rope from chaffing. I've never used a quick anchor.


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    Can you rent some scaffolding to put up outside the building to help you get to the last parts of the roof?
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    First thing that comes to my mind but may not be appropriate....

    Is there a way you can fasten a ladder onto the roof over the existing panels to reach over to fasten the last panel? I am thinking of a ladder tied off over the peak and down to the ground with an anchor on the opposite side.

    Something like these examples -

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    Park tractor on the other side and tie a rope to the 3PT hitch. Then use your harness to attach to that. Make sure rope is long enough to break your fall and not log enough for you to hit the ground, then you would be defeating the whole purpose of the safety thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillieS View Post
    Park tractor on the other side and tie a rope to the 3PT hitch. Then use your harness to attach to that. Make sure rope is long enough to break your fall and not log enough for you to hit the ground, then you would be defeating the whole purpose of the safety thing.
    A fella I knew at work did this. He tied off to a bumper of his truck, threw the rope over the roof and tied off to that end. Everything was going well until he heard the familiar clunk of the door shutting on his truck. He tried to untie the rope as his wife started it up and put it into gear. He came flying over the roof, down the other side and crashed to the ground as the rope came free. He broke an arm, a leg, several ribs, and a collar bone. He's a lucky SOB. But we'd laugh our a$$es of every time we got him to tell this story.

    Bottom line....bad idea. Don't tie off to a vehicle.
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    I had thought of all of these in some form (well, except dieselshadow's example ) and a couple of others that were much more questionable. I appreciate all the responses.

    I was leaning toward going over the top of the building with the rope and it is good to see other folks suggesting it. So I'm not completely crazy. What we have done so far is keeping out the rain, no leaks, and I really hate the thought of intentionally putting holes in the metal now. I plan to use the cross arm anchor around the middle post and the top sill of the opposite side shed (nothing my wife can drive away!)

    Re the ladder, the 12/12 pitch section is about 7 feet long, and I can reach up to all but the last purlin and the ridge cap standing at the bottom, so I will need to do something to reach that. I'm thinking of building a small ladder to provide a step up, using the wood we have on hand. I like the idea of tying it off to something solid on the other side instead of trying to make a hook to go over the ridgeline.

    At one point I was considering renting one of these - TM34T | Trailer Mounted Cherry Picker - Niftylift USA. It would help me do the roofing AND the siding across the loft area. I may still do that if I lose my nerve while doing the roofing! Dont judge me...

    I actually thought of the tractor method but tying off to the ROPS. My reasoning was if I fall and am dangling in my harness, my wife could slowly lower me down by backing up closer to the building. She pointed out that the ROPS is designed for forces pushing inwards, not outwards. Maybe not a good idea to tie off on the ROPS...
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    About the cherry picker type lift -

    If you are at an end of the building as you say that could work. I wish it would work for what I need....I have an 8/12 pitch second story roof that needs a couple repairs. A man lift would be great but I wouldn’t be able to reach the roof proper from the bucket.

    Thinking about your metal roof - I am sitting here looking at my pavillion that we built years ago with a metal roof. It’s only a 6/12 pitch. I don’t remember but I must have scrambled up there to fasten the last panel somehow. But now I would never attempt it without plenty of forethought just as you are doing.
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    A couple of other notes here.

    Never use just a rope or other lanyard that has excessive slack. If you need more than a few feet of slack, you need a shock absorbing lanyard or an automatic retractor. A regular rope with more than a few feet of slack will let you build momentum as you fall. The sudden stop at the end is no different than crashing to the ground. The energy you've gained as you accelerate needs to be absorbed or dissipated through those means or limited my not allowing the slack in the first place.

    Never tie a rope around you waist as a means of fall protection. That rope will severely hurt you in a fall crushing many soft tissue organs or causing you to break your spine. Seen this happen, it's very ugly and excruciating. Use a proper harness.

    A tie off point should be very substantial. Think about this. When you fall, the amount of energy you have is astounding. The tie down point needs to be able to hold the weight of your truck in order to be able to safely retain that energy. I always look a tie-off points as though I going to hang a truck off it. If it'll hold my truck, it'll hold me.

    Common sense is the best tool you have and safety is only as important as you make it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    About the cherry picker type lift -

    If you are at an end of the building as you say that could work. I wish it would work for what I need....I have an 8/12 pitch second story roof that needs a couple repairs. A man lift would be great but I wouldn’t be able to reach the roof proper from the bucket.

    Thinking about your metal roof - I am sitting here looking at my pavillion that we built years ago with a metal roof. It’s only a 6/12 pitch. I don’t remember but I must have scrambled up there to fasten the last panel somehow. But now I would never attempt it without plenty of forethought just as you are doing.
    In addition to my fear of heights, my FIL died by falling off a ladder working on a second story balcony. He lived by himself and the neighbor found him a couple of days later. So my wife is weighing in on all my suggestions and has a vested interest. If I die falling off a roof she would never speak to me again!

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