Roofing is a dangerous profession. Roofers are more likely to experience a work-related injury or fatality compared to the average worker. Workplace burns are among those risks, but through awareness, hazard prevention, and protection, burn incidents can be dramatically reduced.
Roofers can experience burns from transferring hot tar, tripping over buckets, falling into tar kettles, and so on. Workers also experience electrical burns when working near power lines. In this article, our roofing attorneys in Tennessee will be discussing the leading cause of burns and provide tips to help prevent burns.
Leading Cause of Roofing Burns
Varying types of burns can transpire on jobsites. They include thermal burns, chemical burns, electrical burns, and sun exposure burns. Roofers are most at risk for hot tar burns and electrical burns.
Tar Burns: Heated tar can splash workers while they are feeding it into the kettle or while it’s being carried in buckets. Since tar is very slick and thickens as it cools, it can become a slip hazard. The hot lugger or kettle used to prepare the tar creates vapors that can be highly flammable when near an ignition source. If a burn occurs, cool the hot tar with low-pressure water immediately and seek emergency care for the injured worker.
Electrical Burns: Electric shock can cause serious burns and even death. Electrical hazards come in the form of overhead power lines, building wiring, extension cords, and powered hand tools. Most fatalities occur from an overhead powerline. Even a low voltage shock can injure or kill a worker. If a worker experiences a burn or shock, do not touch the victim and cut off the electrical source. If cutting the current isn’t possible, use a nonconducting object to separate the victim. Extinguish flames and seek emergency medical attention for the victim.
Burn Prevention Tips
Proper safety training is the single most important way to prevent injury and death. This training should include procedures for staying safe as well as the proper use of equipment. Additional ways to prevent work-related burn injuries include:
- Conducting regular site inspections
- Monitoring weather conditions
- Having cool and clean water available
- Using a pump to transfer hot tar instead of buckets
- Using a hoist to transfer hot tar to the roof
- Having fire extinguishers and first aid supplies on hand
- Contacting the power supply company to de-energize power lines when necessary
- Wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Every roofer should be trained to recognize burn and shock hazards. If you are facing any safety violations, consult with a roofing lawyer in Tennessee as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.