Roofers have the highest risk of fall fatalities in the construction industry. Therefore, it is critical that roofing professionals place a greater emphasis on fall hazards and the implementation of safety standards such as an OSHA fall protection plan. A written fall protection plan is mandatory for industries where workers work at heights of six feet or more.
Use Ladders Properly
Annually, thousands of roofers are injured in roofing accidents and many of them involved a ladder. The most common ladder mistakes include selecting the wrong type of ladder, using damaged ladders, using ladders improperly, and placing ladders incorrectly. Always inspect ladders before, during, and after use. Wear slip-resistant shoes and climb ladders using three-points of contact.
Wear a Harness
Use a high-quality safety harness when performing roof work especially on steep roofs. Ensure that it is snug and connected to a lifeline or lanyard. The safety harness will prevent you from falling off the roof if you happen to slip.
Do Some Housekeeping
Keep the job site clean by periodically clearing the area of unnecessary materials, tools, objects, and debris. This will minimize tripping and slipping hazards.
Invest in the Right Gear
Wear the appropriate gear at all times and ensure you select certain season-appropriate gear. Additionally, the type of boots you wear is critical. Invest in high-quality steel-toed boots with a solid tread to maintain good traction on roofs. As usual, safety gear such as your hard hat, gloves, and safety glasses are a must.
Consider the Weather
Fall hazards are prevalent during rainy weather. Rain and leaves can make roofs slippery, so if a thunderstorm is in your area, reschedule work. This is also true for windy weather. Plan to wear water-resistant clothing as well.
Covers protect roofers while on working surfaces from tripping or falling through holes or skylights. This includes protection from objects that may fall through these openings as well. Covers must be placed securely, support at least twice the weight of roofers, and be color-coded or labeled “hole” or “cover.”
Training should not be an afterthought. Employers are to provide up-to-date training in understandable formats (i.e., language, verbally if illiterate) to each employee with a qualified professional who is competent in OSHA safety standards and compliance. Every employee should be trained to recognize and mitigate fall hazards. They must also know how to properly use fall protection systems, which includes inspecting, installing, operating, and storing systems.
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.