Housing employers generally need to ensure that employees working higher than 6 feet above lower levels use guardrails, safety nets, or a PFAS, which can consist of a full body harness, deceleration device, lanyard, and anchor point. Photo: CertainTeed and Rutter Roofing & Exteriors
As an experienced contractor with several decades of experience in the construction industry, I’m still excited when I’m on a roof, addressing problems and offering solutions. Most roofers earn a decent salary (the national average is $ 20.30 an hour); In my opinion, however, the wages don’t fully compensate them for the risk involved in being so off the ground. Roofers have the fifth highest work-related death rate in construction – 29.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalents, which is about twice the average of all construction works of 15.2. About 50 roofers are killed on the job each year, and three quarters of those deaths are due to falls.
As dangerous as roofs may be, there are still too many people who do not regularly practice modern roof safety protocols. There are many steep roof safety devices available to roofers, such as: B. ropes, belts, perimeter rails and catchers, cleats, roof jacks and other items that many installers rarely use.
There is no safe way to fall off a roof. Roofers owe it to themselves and their families and employees to do everything possible to prevent life-changing falls. To do this, you need to learn as much as you can about roof safety equipment and its uses, government safety regulations for roofers (especially those issued by the OSHA), and the safety recommendations of trade associations.
Here is a general summary of the safety rules and best practices that all roofers should incorporate into their work habits.
Follow federal security protocols
OSHA implements a federally prescribed safety program for all roofers. This includes regular training and employers equipping roofers with OSHA approved fall protection while working 6 feet or more above a lower level. Even experienced roofers face unpredictable falls from uneven cladding, openings in the roof deck for skylights or hatches, loose roofing materials, and smooth surfaces. Therefore, employers need to assess the hazards and take action to reduce the risk of falls.
If you don’t know the law you don’t excuse anyone, and an inspection that reveals no valid safety program, ignorance of regulations, or worse, blatant regulatory disregard, can cost a contractor anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Taking appropriate fall protection measures reduces risks, saves lives, and is much cheaper from the employer’s perspective than waiting for a terrible accident.
There are fall arrest systems that give roofers the flexibility they need during demolition and roof installation. A personal fall protection system (PFAS) is an excellent tool available to roofers when doing roof replacement work. However, it must be installed exactly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid possible accidents. Housing employers generally need to ensure that employees working higher than 6 feet above lower levels use guardrails, safety nets, or a PFAS, which can consist of a full body harness, deceleration device, lanyard, and anchor point.
Find out about the federal, state, and local worker safety requirements that apply to your job. These requirements exist to protect roofers and companies. Learning and applying these rules is one of the most important aspects of a roofer.
Basic roof safety tips
Here are some things all roofers should keep in mind while working, whether in residential or commercial premises.
Setting: Wear a seat belt that is securely attached to a fall-proof device.
Avoid slippery roofs: If the roof is slippery from rain, snow, frost, or dew, it is best to wait until the roof surface is dry to begin work.
Keep it clean: Make sure someone is keeping the roof clean by sweeping up sawdust, wood, shingle particles, and other types of debris frequently. Many roofers also use a leaf blower to clean the deck of shingle granules and debris.
Wear rubber-soled shoes or boots: Rubber-soled boots usually offer better traction than leather-soled boots. Some crepe-soled boots also offer good traction. Regardless of which shoes or boots you plan to wear, make sure they are in good condition. Badly worn shoes of any kind can be a real safety issue.
Safe openings: Cover and secure all skylights and openings, or install guardrails to keep workers from falling through.
Dealing with wet conditions: Dew, frost and rain pose safety and liability problems. With dew and frost early in the morning there is an increased risk for workers walking on a roof. The underpayment can be slippery without it being the case for the untrained eye. In all wet weather conditions, be sure to protect the shingle bundles from getting wet. Wet bundles are very difficult to handle. They can create security problems and almost certainly reduce productivity. Keep bundles under cover and off the ground. Never use security associations in this situation.
Keep the non-slip side of the panels facing outwards: Some OSB (Oriented Strand Board) panels are structured on one side or spray-coated to increase traction on the panel surface. When installing OSB panels on the roof, make sure the non-slip side is facing up.
Install the clapboard underlay: Cover the deck with a mat as soon as possible to minimize the effects of the weather. The underlay will make the roof less slippery when properly installed. Note that the base can tear off fasteners, especially with steeper distances. Make sure enough fasteners are installed to secure the pad to the deck.
Install temporary wooden cleats for households: Attach two by four wooden cleats or adjustable roof jacks to the roof deck to create temporary households. Remove the cleats or roof jacks when the roof is in place.
Constantly check the roof for tripping hazards: Tools, power cables, and other loose objects can be hazardous and should be removed from the roof.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ladders account for nearly 20 percent of fall injuries among the public. Ladders are the cause of 81 percent of fall injuries among construction workers. Extreme caution is required when using ladders.
Here are some important ladder safety tips:
Setting: A ladder that will be used for long periods of time should be tied at the bottom rung to a stake driven into the ground (or stack two bundles of shingles on the ground against the base of the ladder) and also tied to a screwed-in eyebolt at the top of the fascia.
· Leader evaluation: Ladders are rated based on how much weight they can safely support. Consider using the highest rating available of 1A or £ 300.
· Material: When it comes to safety, fiberglass is the best material for a ladder. Although wood is cheaper and aluminum is easier to handle, wood also degrades when used outdoors, and aluminum is dangerous when used near electrical circuits. In some companies and industrial plants you cannot use aluminum ladders, others only insist on fiber optic ladders.
Power lines: Even wooden or fiberglass ladders should not be used near power lines or other electrical hazards.
Positioning: Ladders should extend 3 to 3 1/2 feet above the eaves and sit on a firm, level base. Leveling can be achieved by digging or by using adjustable straighteners. Strength can be achieved by using a two foot square piece of 3/4 inch plywood under each leg.
· Ladder angle: To be at a suitable angle, the distance of the foot of the ladder from the wall that supports it should be a quarter of the height of the wall (1 foot for every 4 feet of vertical slope).
Avoid overreaches: Do not reach too far on either side of a ladder. A good rule of thumb is to keep the belt buckle between the rails.
No plank: Do not use the ladder or any part of a ladder as a plank or to add stiffness to a wooden plank. In addition to the risk of failure, the tensions built up during this use release the connection points of the conductors.
· Step ladders: Stepladders are designed to be used fully open – not closed and leaning against a wall. The highest step to stand is 2 feet below the top.
· Inspection: A ladder should be checked every time it is set up for use. From the bottom up, inspect the ladder for any visible defects or wear and ensure that it is properly and securely anchored and properly positioned.
In your efforts to avoid falls, be sure to always use correct safety procedures and use common sense. Safety programs and regulations cannot predict the conditions or location of each roof that you may need to work on. Adapt to protect yourself and your employees.
About the author: Jay Butch joined CertainTeed Roofing in 1998 and is responsible for all contractor programs and marketing. He strengthened CertainTeed’s contractor’s EDGE program by developing the ShingleMaster Proof of Entitlement, SureStart PLUS Extended Warranty, and Roofing Awards. He adds valuable insights from his extensive interactions with contractors across the country. Before joining CertainTeed, he worked for a major insurance company for 19 years and also ran a remodeling company. Butch holds a BS in accounting from Temple University and an MBA from DeSales University. More information is available at www.certainteed.com.