Construction professionals are familiar with the safety requirements set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But what many may not know is that there is a set of best practices from OSHA for roofers as well. These guidelines were created to protect workers from injuries and fatalities on the job site. In this article, one of our Lakeland construction attorneys shares the most common OSHA requirements for roofers, as well as what you should do if your job site is being investigated by OSHA.
Enhanced Fall Safety Requirements
Fall safety issues are the number one citation roofers receive from OSHA, and for a good reason: Falls are the number one safety hazard for any roofer. OSHA’s guidelines for roofers detail everything from scaffolding to ladder safety and include a method called “Plan, Provide and Train.” See OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign web page for resources to help prevent falls (www.osha.gov/stopfalls).
It’s important to note that many of the fall safety requirements for roofers mirror those required of general construction sites. If you would like guidance on the specific differences, Lakeland construction lawyers can help answer OSHA-related questions.
Strict Rules Regarding Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica
A rule passed in 2016 titled “Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica” established an array of new requirements, but the one most impactful on the roofing industry concerns a stricter permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica (silica). With exposure now limited to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the new limitation is actually five times lower than what was previously required for the construction industry. These limits have been met with staunch opposition; however, the best way to remain in compliance is always to use common sense measures on the jobsite and routinely monitor the use of crystalline silica.
Requirements Regarding Torch Applied Roofing
OSHA has also set forth requirements regarding torch applied roofing. Torch applied roofing uses an open flame system that can reach temperatures of 2,000°F at the torch end. When heat from the torch is improperly applied to the roofing ply, it can conduct enough heat to ignite combustible materials underneath, such as wood decking or trusses, without the knowledge of the roofer.
In order to prevent these dangers, OSHA requires workers to take pre-construction surveys, follow the ply manufacturer’s application techniques, and post a fire watch to prevent catastrophic loss and personal injury from fires. Regular fire-watch inspections should be done throughout the day by a competent person and for a minimum of two hours starting when the last torch is extinguished on a roof. Inspections should include the roof’s entire field, flashings, and the underside of the roof deck. If you are concerned about OSHA regulations on your jobsite, Lakeland construction lawyers with Cotney Construction Law can assist with a variety of needs.
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.