What Is The Best Steep Assist Fall Protection Anchor

What Is The Best Steep Assist Fall Protection Anchor

Posted by Howie Scarboro - CEO Fall Protection Distributors, LLC on Feb 19th 2024

Steep Assist Fall Protection Anchor Comparison

In the realm of professional roofing, safety is paramount, particularly when navigating the challenges of steep slopes. This comprehensive guide dives into the intricacies of three leading steep assist fall protection anchors: RidgeProGoat Steep Assist, and HippLock. Each system offers unique features designed to enhance safety and efficiency on steep roofs, catering to the diverse needs of roofing professionals.

Whether you're a seasoned roofer, solar/Christmas light installer, or involved in insurance claim adjustments, understanding the nuances of these systems is crucial. We meticulously analyze and compare the RidgePro's lightweight convenience, the versatile reach of the Goat Steep Assist, and the robust design of the HippLock. Our research covers essential aspects such as weight, cost, ease of use, and compatibility with different roof pitches, providing valuable insights for those seeking the ideal steep roof fall protection solution. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at how these systems stand up against each other, ensuring you make an informed decision for your next roofing project.

1. The RidgePro

The RidgePro is a premium roof anchor system designed for steep-slope roofing safety. It's particularly effective for roof pitches ranging from 6/12 to 12/12. This system offers a secure and efficient method to access the roof peak safely. 

Notably, the RidgePro does not rely on the roof ridge peak for stability, which enhances its safety quotient. There is a front and rear side screw flange for attaching the RidgePro for longer work periods.  The RidgePro does not require that the worker maintain contact with the device or be forced to stay in a 3 point stance. The worker is free to stand up and move about performing tasks using both hands.

RidgePro anchor being used by a roofer for fall protection.

Designed for use with the Wooster Sherlock 8—16’ telescoping pole, the length of which can be extended using sections of schedule 40 pvc pipe for longer roof runs.  The RidgePro weighs only 10 lbs without the pole and 14 lbs with the 8-16' telescoping Wooster pole.  

Key features of the RidgePro include:

Construction from aircraft-grade (6061-T6) aluminum, ensuring durability and strength. This material is capable of withstanding thousands of pounds of pulling force.

An adjustable pitch-selection grid, with pitch settings ranging from 6/12 to 12/12. These pitches are etched into the main body of the device for easy reference.

Four pre-drilled holes for anchoring and a stainless steel shackle for rope and harness clips. The anchored weight limit exceeds 5,000 pounds, surpassing industry standards.

RidgePro attached to roof peak for fall protection.

Easy assembly and intuitive usage, making it a versatile tool for various professionals such as roofing contractors, insurance claim adjusters, solar installers, and others.

Additional safety features like a built-in lifeline attachment and innovative arch design for straddling ridge vents during installation.

The RidgePro is also lauded for its ease of use, enabling quicker and safer transition from ladders to roofs and back. It's a lightweight alternative to more cumbersome scaffolding or roof planks and offers a higher level of safety and efficiency compared to standard rope-and-harness techniques.

RidgePro bundle with hook, 50' vertical lifeline, and harness.

The product is designed and manufactured in the USA and meets ANSI standard Z359.18-2017. Its application spans multiple industries, including roofing, solar panel installation, chimney repair, pest control, insurance claims adjusting, and holiday light installation.

Given these features and the versatility across many professional roofing applications, the RidgePro stands out as a solid option in the steep assist fall protection product category.  Current cost is $449 plus $40 for the pole so you are looking at around $489 combined price.

2. The Goat Steep Assist

The Goat Steep Assist is a robust and versatile tool designed to aid in climbing steep roofs, making it a valuable asset for professionals such as roofers, Christmas light installers, pest control companies, window cleaners, roof inspectors, insurance claim adjusters, solar contractors, and more.  The Goat pricing ranges from $539 to $669 depending on the pole length you choose from 20' to 24'.  

The Goat Steep Assist fall protection anchor.

Key features of the Goat Steep Assist include:

Robust Construction:

Made from aircraft-grade aluminum (6061 T6), it offers high strength, durability, and safety. This material choice ensures that the product can withstand the rigors of regular use in various professional contexts.

Patented Roof Ridge Hook:

The Goat Steep Assist features a unique and patented design for the roof ridge hook. This design facilitates easy setting with a roll-up wheel and provides a secure grip on a range of roof types, including metal roofs.

The Goat Steep Assist fall protection anchor

Enhanced Grip and Stability:

The tool is engineered with thicker walls to provide a secure grip on roofs, enhancing stability and safety for users.

Two Variants:

The product is available in two main packages - The Deluxe Goat and The Compact Goat. The Deluxe Goat includes 24' of poles, a hook with a soft touch pad, and a carry bag, allowing for greater reach and ease of transport. The Compact Goat, on the other hand, includes 20' of poles and is designed to provide the essentials for roof climbing.

Weight and Dimensions:

The Deluxe Goat weighs 25 lbs, while the Compact Goat is lighter at 16 lbs. Their dimensions facilitate easy handling and storage.

Roof Compatibility:

The Goat Steep Assist is compatible with roofs having a pitch limit of up to 45 degrees or 12/12 pitch.

Ease of Use:

It's designed to make transitioning from ladders to roofs simpler and safer, offering stability with handles that also function as steps.

Customer Feedback: 

User reviews highlight the practicality and effectiveness of the Goat Steep Assist in various applications, from professional roofing to Christmas light installation. Customers have praised its ease of assembly, light weight, and the confidence it provides when working on steep roofs.

Given these features, the Goat Steep Assist stands out for its ease of use, robust construction, and versatility. It is particularly beneficial for professionals who frequently need to climb steep roofs and require a reliable, safe, and easy-to-use tool to assist them in their tasks.

3. The HippLock

This product is a robust and innovative solution for professionals navigating the challenges of steep roofing. It stands out in the fall protection market with its specialized design and functionality, catering to the needs of a wide range of roofing professionals, including adjusters, contractors, and installers. Pricing ranges from $539 up to $839 depending on the pole length and model ordered.  The Outrigger upgrade in the HippLock Plus package adds functionality on both gabled and hip style roofs.

Hipplock fall protection anchor.

Weight and Portability: 

The HippLock's weights vary from 16 lbs up to 27 lbs depending on the model selected.  A manageable weight is important to balances the need for a sturdy system with the ease of portability. This weight ensures that the system is robust enough to provide secure anchoring while still being transportable for professionals who need to move across various job sites. 

Cost Effectiveness:

Priced at around $539.99 for the base package, the HippLock offers a cost-efficient solution in the steep roof fall protection segment. The Plus Package, which includes additional components for enhanced versatility, is priced at $839.99. These prices reflect the system's comprehensive features and its ability to cater to a range of roofing scenarios. 

Functional Abilities: 

The HippLock is designed for use on both gable and hip roofs, making it a versatile option for various roofing projects. It is compliant with OSHA’s subpart M, ensuring adherence to essential safety standards. The system's design allows for easy setup: simply roll it up the slope and flip it over the ridge. This straightforward process saves valuable time and reduces the complexity often associated with roof anchoring systems. 

Pitch Compatibility and Safety: 

The system is suitable for a minimum pitch of 8/12 and a maximum of 12/12. This range makes it versatile for different roof types. Importantly, users have found the HippLock to be secure on various pitches, providing confidence and safety even on steep slopes. 

Vertical Lifeline Attachment: 

Similar to the RidgePro, the HippLock allows for the attachment of a vertical lifeline. This feature is crucial for ensuring full-range mobility and safety on the roof. The lifeline attachment adds an extra layer of security, allowing professionals to work with the assurance that they are well-protected against falls. 

In summary, the HippLock is a well-rounded steep roof fall protection system, offering a blend of strength, versatility, and cost efficiency. Its ability to accommodate different roof pitches and the option to attach a vertical lifeline make it a competitive choice in the market, suitable for a variety of professional roofing needs.

Let's Get Down To The Gritty Truth

There seems to be significant disadvantages with the Goat versus the other options on the market. Price is higher than other options, but more importantly let’s look at the inability to be tied off while using the Goat. There is no way to attach a vertical lifeline to the Goat device, therefore the worker is not protected from the ladder to the roof and back to the ladder with 100% tie-off.

The advantage of the Goat is the longer 20’ and 24’ reach of the poles. However, the other competitor’s poles can be easily extended using sections of very inexpensive pvc pipe to reach unlimited lengths. This negates the length advantage for the Goat Steep Assist product.

Weight Comparison

When comparing the weights of the RidgePro, the Goat Steep Assist, and the HippLock, it's evident that the RidgePro emerges as the lightest and most portable option among the three, which can be a significant advantage for professionals who require ease of transport and quick setup. Weight is of primary concern with this types of anchor as all are pushed up the roof slope by lightweight poles. The heavier the unit, the less stable that action will be.

1. RidgePro

The RidgePro is the lightest of the three products. It weighs only 10 pounds plus 4 lbs for the pole, making it highly portable and easy to handle. This lightweight design contributes to it's ease of installation and maneuverability on the roof.

2. Goat Steep Assist

The weight of the Goat Steep Assist varies depending on the package. The Compact Goat weighs 16 pounds, while the Deluxe Goat is heavier, weighing 25 pounds. This variation in weight offers a choice between a more lightweight option and a more comprehensive package for those needing additional reach and functionality.

3. HippLock 

The base package of the HippLock weighs between 16-27 pounds. While this is comparable to the Compact Goat, it's significantly heavier than the RidgePro. The weight is still manageable for transport and setup, but does not offer the same level of portability as the RidgePro.

Cost Comparison:

As of the information available, here's a comparison of the costs of the RidgePro, the Goat Steep Assist, and the HippLock systems:

1. RidgePro

The price of the RidgePro is around $449 plus an additional $40 for the 16’ Wooster Sherlock 8’-16’ Pole. This price point, while offering a high-quality, lightweight, and versatile fall protection system, is notably competitive and positions it as an economical choice in the market.

2. Goat Steep Assist

The Goat Steep Assist comes in two main versions: The Compact Goat and The Deluxe Goat. The Compact Goat is priced at approximately $539, while the Deluxe Goat, offering additional features and length, costs around $669. These prices reflect the additional versatility and features offered by the Goat Steep Assist, particularly in the Deluxe version.

3. HippLock

The HippLock system is available in different packages. The Base Package is priced at about $539.99, while the Plus Package costs around $839.99. The higher price of the Plus Package can be attributed to the additional components and functionalities it offers.

100% Tie-Off Ability

Only two of the three units allow a worker to maintain 100% tie-off from the ladder to the roof and back to the ladder. The RidgePro and the Hipplock have integrated vertical lifelines that the worker is attached to before leaving the ladder. The Goat Steep Assist does not have a tie-off point and therefore would require the workers to rely on an additional anchor point.

In summary, when comparing the costs of these three systems, the RidgePro, at around $489 with pole emerges as the least expensive option. It offers a balance of affordability, lightweight design, and functionality, making it an attractive choice for professionals seeking a cost-effective yet reliable steep roof fall protection system.

Conclusion

The RidgePro's lightweight design at only 10-14 pounds coupled with the lowest price point of the three options makes it the clear winner.  It is an exceptionally portable and user-friendly option in steep roof fall protection equipment. Its lower weight does not compromise on safety or functionality but enhances ease of use, which can be a critical factor for professionals working in challenging roofing environments.  The ability to have handle extensions to longer lengths are an advantage of the RidgePro, thereby negating the advantage of the Goat Steep Assist's longer factory pole length.  

Here are my results and my personal opinion based on this research.  

First Place - Ridge Pro

Lowest weight, extendable pole, integrated vertical lifeline attachment point for 100% tie-off, lowest cost, adjustable pitch angles, good worker mobility 

Second Place - HippLock

Heavier than the RidgePro, integrated vertical lifeline attachment point for 100% tie-off, highest cost of the three models, good worker mobility

Third Place - The Goat Steep Assist

No connection point for vertical lifelines, no 100% tie-off, high price, high weight, requires worker to maintain a 3-point stance results in poor worker mobility and restricts what type of work can actually be safely done.    

Howie Scarboro, C.E.O. and co-founder of Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C., recognized the need for continued improvements in roofing safety during the 2010 MetalCon show in Las Vegas. He joined forces with SnoBlox-Snojax, a leader in snow retention and seam clamping technology for metal roofs, to create the SSRA1 prototype. Tested by Gravitec for OSHA/ANSI certifications, the SSRA1 proved to be the industry's lightest, most robust, and most universal-fit anchor point for standing seam roofs. Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C. was born in 2015, shaping the future of fall protection and instilling confidence in the industry.