Inspecting Roofs for Safety Prior to Beginning Work
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Those who work in roofing are even more likely to be severely injured or killed. It is critical that roofing companies raise awareness about fall hazards and mitigate fall risks by performing roof safety inspections and providing roofers with the proper roof safety equipment. Below are some areas to focus on when evaluating a roof for safety.
Structures without interior stairs or a door to the roof require precautions with ladder use. Ladders must be stable and secured or tied off to the building. Ladders should also have non-slip rungs with even rung spacing. The top rung level should have access/egress and the bottom rung should start within 300mm of the ground.
Some roofing slips and trips can be avoided with good sense such as wearing the proper shoes and avoiding roof work during certain weather conditions. At other times the proper precautions must be put in place if walkways are obstructed with piping, electrical, or curbs. Steps or a crossover bridge should be installed if workers will need to step higher or further than 300mm.
Unprotected edges is a frequent OSHA violation. Any worker constructing a leading edge at 6 feet or more must be protected by guardrail systems, safety-net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. When working around edges or open sides, guardrails taller than 39 inches should be used. Areas that fall within 2m of an edge require guards.
Fall hazards associated with floor openings and covers continue to be one of the most deadly roofing hazards. Are there any skylights or other openings in the roof where a worker or equipment could fall through? Identify potential fall hazards at temporary floor openings and the put the proper protective measures in place. Have you ensured that every opening is properly protected with screens or guardrails? These protections may include plywood, planking, or barricade systems. Additionally, provide instructions for removing and installing opening covers.
It’s All About the Right Equipment
Before roofing work begins, all workers should be provided with fall protection equipment if they will be working at heights above 6 feet. Workers should have access to personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, and ladders. When working on roofs, safety is of the utmost importance. View the OSHA website to ensure you are planning, providing workers the right equipment, and training everyone on the proper use of roof safety equipment.
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.