Roofs generally aren’t made to be walked on, unless you have a flat or low-slope roof. They’re more often shaped so that rainwater can slide right off of them. While this is good for protecting your home, you may wonder how roofers stay safe and keep from falling on such slanted surfaces. Every home needs a roof, and every roof will eventually need repairs and then replacement. But how do roofers protect themselves when conducting such dangerous work?
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has clear-cut guidelines for roofing companies to follow in order to protect people in this dangerous line of work. Here is what you need to know about some of the hazards that roofers face and how roofers stay safe and keep from falling off your roof.
Common Hazards Roofers Face
As you can imagine, there are many dangers to working on roofs. As such, it’s very important that roofing companies take the time to thoroughly train each and every one of their employees and that they adhere to OSHA guidelines.
Some of the most common hazards that roofers face include:
- Falls. This is the leading cause of death in the construction industry. According to OSHA’s publication Protecting Roofing Workers, falls account for about 34% of deaths. Since roofers work at high heights in outdoor temperatures, with powerful equipment, lots of noise, and lots of materials, they’re at great risk for falling.
- Power tools. Nail guns, power saw, shingle strippers, and more are necessary in order to do a roofing job. However, they can also cause serious harm to workers if used improperly or without proper PPE (personal protective equipment).
- Hazardous substances. From asbestos to silica to lead, roofers can be exposed to many different hazards. It’s important to take appropriate action when hazardous substances are present.
- Electricity. This is also needed in order to do roofing jobs, but about 52% of fatalities resulting from electricity occur in the construction industry.
- Extreme temperatures. Since roofers work up on your roof, they need to be cautious of extreme temperatures. Both extreme cold and extreme heat, as well as adverse weather conditions, can risk roofers’ safety.
In order to ensure that roofers stay safe, hazards must be properly identified and appropriate safety precautions must be taken.
What Roofers Can Do In Order To Stay Safe
As you can see, roofers face many different challenges on the job. OSHA has clear guidelines for what roofing companies can do in order to protect their workers’ safety.
Some of the ways in which roofers stay safe are as follows.
You can provide someone with all the safety equipment in the world, but if they don’t know how to use it, it won’t do much good. Roofers stay safe through proper training and experience. They must know how to do the job, how to use the equipment, and what to do in order to stay safe. This is part of why it’s so important for roofing companies to be properly licensed and insured.
Since falls are a major concern in the roofing industry, it’s no surprise that roofers utilize a number of different fall protection tactics and equipment.
Some of the ways roofers can prevent falls include:
- Fall protection training
- Using personal fall arrest systems, such as harnesses
- Plans for how to rescue someone who does fall
- Fall restraint systems
- Toeboards (boards that are nailed to your roof during the duration of the job)
- Warning lines
- Safety net systems
- Covers for skylights and roof openings
- Ensuring that ladders are properly secured
- Practicing ladder safety
- Using aerial lifts and forklifts
- Ensuring that the roof surface is safe to walk on
Practice Roofing Tool Safety
The equipment and tools that roofers use can be incredibly hazardous, especially if used incorrectly. Through proper training and ensuring that proper personal protective equipment is worn, roofers can know how to use roofing tools safely to minimize potential risk.
Wearing Proper PPE
Roofers stay safe by wearing personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, hearing protection, respirators, high-visibility clothing, and more. The roofing company must determine the type of personal protective equipment that the roofers need in order to stay safe on the job.
If roofers come across hazards on your roof, they need to communicate said hazards with each other so that others can know and appropriate action can be taken. They can also alert those around them to potential hazards, such as when disposing of debris or when something is falling.
Minding The Weather
Mother Nature is not to be messed with. Roofers stay safe by identifying when the environment would make their job unsafe, as well as through recognizing signs of temperature stresses that can lead to heat exhaustion or hypothermia and more.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways that roofers stay safe on the job. You also see why it’s so important to hire professional roofers, as attempting to DIY a roofing project is incredibly dangerous.
Lifetime Roofing is here to help you with all of your roofing needs, safely and effectively. Contact us today to learn more about the roofing services we can provide for you.