While your roofers may love their jobs, there’s no denying that roofing can be a dangerous profession. At Benton Roofing, we want to do our part to keep your team safe and help them do their jobs even better. Since we are practicing the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction this week, it seemed like the perfect time to put together our list of useful commercial roofing safety tips that anyone can put to good use.
Follow the Latest OSHA Standards and Regulations
Not only does adhering to the latest Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations minimize the risk of employee injury, but it also helps you avoid an unnecessary fine. Examples of regulations include informing and training your roofers on OSHA standards, creating work conditions that minimize the risk of harm, and looking over records of common injuries and illnesses to better prevent them. You should also ensure every roofer on your staff knows industry hazards and receives training on protecting themselves against them.
Use Fixed Access Ladders
A study published in the most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), found that falls remain a leading cause of unintentional injury mortality nationwide, and 43 percent of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder. Among workers, approximately 20 percent of fall injuries involve ladders, and among construction workers, an estimated 81 percent of fall injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms involve a ladder.
Any time heights enter the equation, there exists the risk of a fall injury. As part of fall prevention and ladder safety, we recommend fixed access ladders at worksites. What’s unique about such equipment is your workers do not have to worry as much about falling or slipping. Besides installing fixed access ladders, make sure you only use OSHA-approved ladders on roofs and scaffolds. Further, double-check that the ladder’s weight limit, material and safety features align with the specific job your workers perform.
Prioritize Fall Prevention With Safety Rails and Fixed Perimeter Flags
Whenever roofers work near unprotected edges at least six feet above the ground, they must have guardrail, warning line, safety net or personal fall arrest systems to keep them from tumbling over the edge. Prioritize setting up perimeter flag lines six feet from all worksite edges before doing anything else at the start of a job. You can double up on protection and peace of mind with perimeter safety rails.
Train Your Team To Identify Hazards
With every piece of safety equipment you have, teach your workers how to use everything, no matter how intuitive the equipment may seem. Even climbing ladders requires proper training.
Other than using safety equipment, instruct your team on identifying potential worksite hazards. For instance, do your roofers know how to maintain, take apart and inspect all safety equipment properly to ensure every piece does its job? Every time things shift on the worksite or in the workplace, take time to refresh your workers’ training or implement entirely new training.
Supply Workers With Protective Equipment
Do not skimp on purchasing quality basic protective equipment, such as hearing and eye protection and safety devices that prevent power tools from discharging. Further, train your roofers to inspect, fit and use all protective equipment they use properly.
When using power tools, other than wearing top-rated eye and hearing protection, workers should understand individual tool recommendations for pressure and the like. Should your team ever encounter dangerous substances, they must know to wear and utilize a respirator.
Install Roof Hatch Rails
Because a lot of commercial buildings have roof hatches, it’s a good idea to install roof hatch railings around them, which OSHA requires. You want to control as many fall hazards as possible.
Keep Your Team Properly Hydrated
No matter if roofers work in the sweltering summer heat or cooler fall or spring temperatures, they perform hard work that requires a lot of energy. To keep workers from passing out or having a hard time focusing on the task at hand and safety precautions, supply them with plenty of water. According to OSHA, roofers should consume seven ounces of water every 15 minutes. Prioritize having plenty of water on the roof within easy reach. During the warmer months of the year, your team should recognize the signs of heat exhaustion so they can keep watch over themselves and each other.
Teach Your Workers How To Use Heavy Equipment the Right Way
Before roofers utilize heavy equipment on worksites, they must first know how to maintain, check and operate it. We recommend you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest OSHA standards, regulations and requirements, as they may evolve faster than you realize. For example, anyone operating a crane needs proper certification by passing oral and written exams focusing on knowledge of Standard Method hand signals, knowing when to use crane signals, and OSHA’s regulations regarding crane signals and those authorized to use them.
OSHA also established specific training topics and evaluations for forklift operation, maintenance, loading, worksite conditions and travel rules. Anyone who uses heavy equipment must complete OSHA’s operator certification.
Create and Complete a Roof Safety and Roof Inspection Checklist
To make safety easier for your team, create a safety checklist and an inspection checklist, which makes commercial roofing safety easy to adopt by your team. Either way, we recommend going to every length to keep worksites and employees safe. For more safety tips, contact a Benton Roofing representative at 888-622-1622 or submit a contact form found here on our site.