Roofing projects can be hazardous for those involved. Even experienced contractors risk sustaining serious injury if they don’t follow the correct safety practices. Preventative measures help keep everyone safe, from workers to clients to passersby. Learn more about the best safety practices in roofing projects and how to stay secure on the job.
Roof Safety and OSHA Compliance
The roofing industry has witnessed high fatality rates over the years, with 2019 seeing a 15% increase in deaths due to falling and other roofing hazards. This number increased to 20% in 2021, a major concern for the industry.
Employers and workers are responsible for promoting a safe working environment. Failure to comply with relevant OSHA guidelines may result in citations or fines, especially if casualties are observed.
5 Roofing Safety Best Practices
While implementing safety measures for roofing takes time and persistence, it’s a critical part of the job. Here are several points to help you ensure your and your team’s safety during roofing work.
1. Fall Protection
Falls are the leading cause of death in the roofing industry. With the necessary precautions, this number can decrease. Roofers should ensure the following equipment is in place to decrease their chances of falling and getting hurt:
- Safety netting: With this fall arrest system, netting is placed along the roof’s edge to catch roofers in case they slip and slide to the edge. The netting must be durable enough to hold a roofer’s full body weight.
- Safety harnesses: A harness forms part of a personal fall protection system (PFPS) with five vital components. The full-body harness attaches to the body, securing the roofer to an anchor point connected to the roof. The lifeline rope and lanyard form part of the system to join the harness and anchor. These components act as shock absorbers if the roofer falls. All PFPSs must comply with OSHA safety regulations.
- Guardrails: This measure acts as a guide along which a roofer can walk freely. The rails should be secure to withstand sudden jerking, like when someone slips and is about to fall.
- Fall arrest systems: A fall arrest system helps secure roofers by allowing them the freedom to walk on the roof while being attached to a lifeline. This rope attaches to anchor points and keeps the roofers suspended if they fall.
- Personal protective equipment: Roofers must always wear PPE before ascending a roof to ensure their safety while working. For example, they should wear hard hats, safety goggles, knee pads, gloves, non-slip footwear and wet weather gear. The right footwear is also essential for walking on steep or gravel roofs.
2. Adverse Weather Conditions
The weather is beyond anyone’s control, but roofers can watch it for updates and act accordingly. Keeping tabs on the weather to check for adverse conditions like storms, rain, high winds and even excessive heat gives them time to rearrange their schedules.
Working in extreme conditions can lead to serious injury, so it’s best to wait for it to pass before resuming work. If the conditions are favorable enough for work, the following factors should be considered:
- Extreme heat can lead to sunburn, dehydration and sun strokes, causing discomfort, pain and sometimes disorientation, which could be dangerous. Staying hydrated and wearing the correct gear are imperative to reduce these incidents.
- Mild rain, snow and ice can cause a slippery roof, increasing the chances of slipping and falling. Always have fall protection in place and stop working if conditions worsen.
- Wind may die down, but sudden gusts can rise and become hazards for roofers.
It’s never a good idea to put anyone at risk when weather conditions are poor. Delaying work by a day or two is the safer route to take in these situations.
3. Ladders and Scaffolding
Equipment like ladders, harnesses and scaffolding must meet OSHA safety standards and be inspected daily for damage. The more a piece of equipment is used, the more frequently you should check and maintain it.
A loose screw or step on a ladder can have serious consequences for roofers. Ladders are often the main cause of falling accidents because of neglect. Ladders must be in good condition to carry the roofer’s weight and be replaced if they no longer serve their purpose.
Scaffolding must also be inspected before each use and assembled with caution. Always follow the load limit while ensuring the height regulations comply. Due to their lightweight construction, scaffolding shouldn’t be used in adverse weather conditions.
4. Electrical and Other Hazards
A roof can be tricky to navigate because of the presence of other potential hazards. Sometimes, damage may be missed upon initial inspection, and roofers could sustain injuries. Dangers like exposed electrical wires or power lines can lead to electrocution, while loose or broken shingles can be stepped on unaware, causing roofers to slip.
Additionally, the roof may be damaged to such an extent that holes are present or vents and ducts are exposed. Roofers can easily step into a hole or trip over a duct, injuring themselves in the process. Wearing PPE and carefully examining the roof before commencing a project may help mitigate these potentially life-threatening, hazardous situations.
5. Proper Preparation and Training
The best way to keep roofers safe is by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to make the right decisions while working on roofing projects. Training is one way to approach this.
Safety training aspects include everything covered here, but also dive deeper into the OSHA regulations, guidelines and the importance of complying. Furthermore, roofers must know fire safety and emergency evacuation procedures and have basic first aid skills.
Ensure every roofer on your team is trained thoroughly and is well-equipped with the right safety equipment to keep them safe.
Trust DDP Roofing Services, Inc. for Safety-Focused Roofing Applications
If you’re a roofer or looking for a reputable roofing company that puts occupational safety first, look no further. DDP Roofing Service, Inc. is serious about minimizing risk and injury on-site while providing efficient, quality service. Our safety incident rates are among the lowest in the industry, proving that we mean business.
We back up our safety training with the relevant OSHA and first aid certificates and boast a variety of safety products for ultimate protection and peace of mind. If you’re interested in discussing your roofing project, call us at 888-557-1542 or complete our contact request form, and we’ll call you back promptly.