In any commercial environment, mistakes can lead to severe injuries. On a roof, potential injuries can oftentimes be life-threatening. Safety measures are vital to keeping personnel safe, avoiding negative publicity, and minimizing liability risks. Follow this commercial roofing safety checklist for installation, repair, and remodeling projects.
Plan With Commercial Roofing Safety in Mind
It’s not enough to add a few safety measures as an afterthought. Safety must be an integral part of every project step for workers and project supervisors.
Determine Safe Access Points to the Roof
Some commercial flat roofing has available access points, but most roofs do not. This generally means adding methods to reach the work area, such as:
- Extension ladders
- Roof hatches with stairs
Choosing the safest roof access is one of the most important decisions; it impacts workflow and worker safety daily. Finding the right access point means considering the project, roof maintenance needs, building design and surrounding terrain. Stability is key.
Ensure Secure Material Transport Lines
Once a plan is in place for getting the work team onto the roof, the next step is determining how to transport the materials necessary for the project. Depending on the scope of roofing installation, repairs or replacement, many items must be readily available on the roof or nearby:
- Roofing materials and pallets
- Roof installation equipment, including air compressors, pressure washers, circular saws, etc.
- Roof disposal bins
- Heating systems
Finding the best avenues for delivery can speed up work completion and improve worker safety considerably.
Use Guardrails Rated for Commercial Roofing Safety Requirements
A guardrail provides passive fall protection for roof workers. It can save lives by keeping personnel aware of dangerous areas and providing support in the case of accidents. Install these protection systems at least six feet from the roof’s edge. Guardrails must be able to handle impacts of at least 200 pounds.
Equip Workers With Fall Protection Harnesses
Virtually all commercial roofing projects outside of preventative maintenance, require using a Personal Fall Arrest System. OSHA regulations require PFAS harnesses for all commercial roofing technicians working within six feet of roof edges or ledges.
To meet safety standards, a PFAS must consist of:
- Safety harness
- Roof anchor
- Lanyard or lifeline
Many PFAS options use self-retracting or deceleration systems for added safety.
Provide and Require Personal Protective Equipment
Contractors must provide high-quality personal protective equipment for personnel. On roofing projects, PPE generally includes:
- Work gloves
- Protective eyewear and hearing protection
- Steel-toed work boots
- Appropriate clothing and safety vests
- Hard hats
Commercial roofing safety isn’t optional. OSHA regulations require anyone using a power saw to wear eye protection, work gloves, and hearing protection — no exceptions.
Perform a Thorough Pre-Project Safety Check
Before beginning a roofing project, supervisors should perform a safety check of the roofing surface. They need to make a note of work hazards:
- Pipes, refrigeration lines, or cables
- Damaged or weak areas of roofing
- HVAC equipment
Any hazards should be clearly marked.
Consider Environmental Concerns for Worker Safety
Climate should enter the discussion when planning roofing projects and personnel safety. In the Southeast, elevated temperatures and humidity put roofing workers at risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion.
There should be a policy in place to encourage adequate hydration. Workers need to be productive, but it’s also essential for them to take periodic breaks to drink water and cool off. This can reduce the risk of falls.
Provide Commercial Roofing Safety Training
Roof safety should never be the responsibility of individual workers to implement. Instead, a safe working environment starts at the top. Contractors must have clear rules in place for their teams, providing training for PFAS, PPE, and other equipment.
Assign Project Responsibilities Ahead of Time
Once the project begins, every team member should understand their responsibilities. Professional roofing companies often hold short daily sessions to delegate responsibilities. The time is well spent because it improves efficiency and productivity. When workers know their assigned tasks, they also know which tools and PPE they need.
Choose a Team With an Excellent Reputation for Commercial Roofing Safety
Only trained and certified personnel should be allowed near commercial roofs. Everyone involved in a project must follow safety guidelines to the letter. That’s one reason why choosing fully licensed, bonded and insured professionals is vital. At Benton Roofing, we have an excellent reputation for commercial roofing safety and work of the highest quality. See how we can help commercial businesses right away.