The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released their Three-Month Outlooks for December 2020 to February 2021, predicting expansive multi-hazard winter storms, intensified drought, and below-normal temperatures extending from the Pacific Northwest into the Northern Plains. What this means is that, in addition to bundling up beside a fire with your loved ones this winter, roofing contractors should be taking the necessary precautions to prepare themselves and their jobsite for cooler temperatures. Identifying red flags early on and addressing those problems accordingly before the winter sets in is going to be the key to protecting your jobsites, your employees, and your bottom line.
If you need legal counsel of any kind regarding how you can ensure your jobsite and employees can stay protected this winter season, don’t hesitate to reach out to a roofing attorney in Tennessee with Cotney Construction Law.
What Hazards Do Roofing Contractors Face in Winter?
No matter how severe or mild this year’s winter season may be, cooler weather is almost always accompanied by dangerous working conditions that can lead to severe injury and even death for ill-prepared roofing contractors. Cold stress, for example, is any cold-related illness or injury that can lead to permanent tissue damage or death, such as hypothermia and frostbite. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common dangers faced by roofing contractors during these colder months and how you can best prevent them.
- Hypothermia: An extremely dangerous drop in core body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to low temperatures and moisture. Signs include blue lips and fingers, loss of motor coordination, shivering, and sudden drowsiness. The best way to combat hypothermia is to wear three layers of clothing (inner, insulation, exterior).
- Frostbite: Occurs when blood flow is significantly blocked to some parts of the body, and the skin and underlying tissues begin to freeze as a result. Most frequently, this condition affects the hands, ears, nose, and lips of roofing contractors. To prevent frostbite, you’ll want to wear a hat, insulated gloves, and waterproof boots.
- Immersion Foot: An injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or moisture. The body constricts blood vessels, shuts down circulation, and skin tissue begins to die, leading to numbness, swelling, and gangrene. The best way to prevent this condition is to keep your feet clean, warm, and dry.
More information regarding the risk factors that contribute to cold stress and how you can prevent these conditions can be found in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Cold Stress Guide. Should you need further assistance comprehending and complying with these guidelines, contact a roofing lawyer in Tennessee.
Preparing a Commercial Roof for Winter
Now is the time to conduct your winter inspections and identify potential maintenance issues that could become seriously problematic when the cooler months roll around. Problems can be fixed much easier when the roof is dry as opposed to conducting emergency repairs that require you to return for a second visit in better weather. In your inspection of the commercial roof, you’ll want to get a clear look at every aspect of the roofing system, including the insulation, surface membrane, drainage pipes, flashing, underlayment, and gutters. Among the most common problems are split seams and blisters; however, clogged drainage systems and out-of-place fasteners can easily lead to severe problems as well.
While you’re examining for any potential issues, it’s also essential to remove any debris covering the surface of the roof, like leaves, twigs, or obsolete equipment. You don’t want anything left on the roof that has the potential of wreaking havoc in high winds or creating a clog in the downspouts. Should the building be located in an area where drifting snow and ice accumulation are common, you’ll also want to have a plan that sees any snow or ice is promptly removed from the roof. This is critical to making sure that ice is not able to form around roof drains and that water is not able to seep into cracks in the roofing membrane. If you would like any more information about how you can prepare for your jobsite for the winter season, feel free to contact one of our roofing attorneys.
Safeguard Your Staff and Jobsites Against Damage
Above anything else this winter season, you want to know that your staff and jobsites are protected from hazards. The best way to accomplish this is through preventative measures, like performing routine maintenance, wearing three layers of clothing, and keeping up with timely updates from the weather channel. You never want to be in a position in which you put your employees or clients at risk because you felt like cashing in on a few extra jobs in the upcoming months. Staying safe on rooftops should always be a number one priority, no matter the time of year or weather conditions. If you need any assistance regarding how you can make sure that your roofing business is prepared for winter, reach out to one of our roofing lawyers at Cotney Construction Law.
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.