Tie Down Blog

Non-penetrating Roof Anchors

Many building owners prefer not to penetrate the roof substrate. The repairs just present another cost! But safety stands as the number one priority. This dilemma allows non-penetrating anchors to step into the market.

These products work with many commercial applications due to the temporary nature of the work and product. When the work and installation is meant to be temporary, the desire to compromise the roof is low. This introduces non-penetrating solutions.

Two workers attached to mobile fall arrest system

The most common types of non-penetrating roof anchors include:

  • Parapet Anchors
  • Deadweight Anchors
  • Mobile Fall Protection Carts

These variations of anchors share both the non-penetrating quality as well as mobility. Because they do not require drilling into a substrate, they move from one spot to another without worrying about damage.

What is an anchor point?

The thought of installing anchor points for fall protection can seem insignificant, especially if the installation takes more time than the job itself. However, the risk of “hoping for the best” becomes too high when OSHA fines, fatalities, and accidents are on the line.

As part of a personal fall protection system, an anchor system is the point of connection for equipment like lifelines and lanyards.

Employers hold the responsibility of choosing personal fall protection systems meet OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) requirements 1910.140(c). Anchorages part of a personal fall protection equipment must be independent from other anchorages and meet one of these two requirements:

A competent person must decide and choose which standard best fits the job at hand.

Non-penetrating Fall Protection

The evolution of fall protection anchors provides so many products to the market now. Whether it be a simple drill-in application for a lanyard attachment or a mobile fall protection cart with five connection points, the market offers an evolving, wide selection of options.

Non-penetrating anchorage provides the highest level of protection, while being OSHA compliant, without the worry of damaging the roof. Manufacturers now understand the fast-paced environments contractors work in while also being conscious of costs.

Close up of mobile fall protection
Fall Arrest vs Fall Restraint

Before deciding on the type of anchor post or system, the purpose of the anchorage must be determined. Fall protection incorporates many purposes, from a horizontal lifeline system to an all-encompassing fall protection system. However, fall restraint and fall arrest systems are the most recognizable and desired.

Fall arrest physically arrests a worker when they fall within an acceptable force and within clearance requirements.

Fall restraint restricts a worker from meeting an unprotected edge of a roof or building.

Manufacturers design anchor points to meet at least one or both purposes. Always check for OSHA compliance and the specified uses for the anchorage.

Parapet Anchors

Many commercial roofs have parapet walls, which act as an extension of the roof and low protective barrier. They also are the perfect attachment for parapet anchors! This anchorage provides many benefits due to the lightweight portability it offers. For single users, parapet anchors are top tier for many reasons.

Deadweight Anchors

Deadweight anchors provide an anchor point on roofs when fixed anchors are not preferred and users want a fall restraint or arrest option in a single area. These anchors work best for longer-term jobs that require access to a specific area on a roof. Most deadweight anchors provide mobility, but some styles offer easier movement than others. They often work on multiple substrates, as well.

Mobile Fall Protection Carts

Mobile fall protection carts range in styles and function, making them one of the most versatile options on the fall protection market. One of the unique features of a fall protection cart is the mobility. The design allows easy movement across the job site, providing tie-off points wherever needed.

The one exception for penetration with mobile fall protection carts is the incident of fall arrest. Carts with higher user capacity will often penetrate the roof when fall arrest is engaged.

Tie Down offers the largest mobile fall protection line on the market. From the 100% non-penetrating Bigfoot to the Penetrator Sentinel with a toolbox, the options for a mobile fall protection are endless.