It’s finally June, otherwise known as National Safety Month! Roofers encounter many hazards on the job, risking serious injuries, illness and death. Protect you and your team on roofing jobs with these five tips.
Tip #1: Wear the Proper PPE
Before starting the job, make sure your team has the proper PPE. According to OSHA, it is highly recommended to wear comfortable, free-moving clothes and closed toe shoes or soft sole work boots. If you are using a pneumatic nailer or pounding down nails on the roof, you must wear eyewear to protect your eyes. Overall, wearing the proper PPE will save you when slips and falls occur.
Tip #2: Fall Protection Safety
Using fall protection equipment is a must-have on the job. OSHA recommends three types of equipment. PFAS, also known as the personal fall arrest system, consists of an anchor, a harness, a lifeline or lanyard-prevents the worker from contacting the lower-level by arresting the fall. Another type of system is the FRS, known as the fall restraint system that stops workers from reaching the edge of the walking/working area even if they lose their footing and slide. Lastly, you can use a guardrail system which can close off any roof openings and perimeter and can protect workers from fall hazards.
Tip #3: Power Tools Safety
Hand tools, power tools and equipment can be hazardous and cause severe injuries if used incorrectly. To keep you and your team safe, all power tools should have their proper shields, guards or safety attachments. Your team must wear the appropriate PPE when using any tool or equipment. If equipment or any tool is damaged or missing guards, you must replace it before using the tool or equipment.
Tip #4: Ladder Safety
When using a ladder improperly, it can cause serious injuries and could lead to fatalities. According to OSHA, employees must inspect for damages or any occurrence that could affect the safe use of a ladder. The ladders footing must be secured and leveled, if it cannot be leveled you must secure the ladder to prevent displacement. It may be necessary to secure the footing that will support the ladder without the ladder sinking, shifting or sliding. OSHA also states that workers must not carry anything up a ladder that can cause imbalance.
An alternative to lifting materials to a higher level, you may consider a gas or electric laddervator.
Tip #5: Roof Safety
Whether you work on a low slope roof or a steep slope roof, you have many options to safely get the job done. On low slope roofs, you can use your typical guardrail, safety net, or PFA systems. While working, roofers can be protected by a combination of warning-line or safety-monitoring systems. A warning line system is a flagged line set up, lining the perimeter of the roof warning employees they are approaching an unprotected area. A safety-monitoring system is a person warning a roofer when they are six feet or more above the lower level and in danger of falling.
If you work on a steep slope roof with unprotected sides and edges, you must use a guardrail system with toeboards, a safety-net system or a PFA system. Traditionally, roofers have used means such as roof jacks and chicken ladders for their safety, but due to the setup time required and harm they do to the customer’s roof, better solutions have since been invented to help alleviate these issues.
Keep you and your team safe by following these tips and checking out OSHA’s website for more information.