Fall Safety In Commercial Roofing
Roofing can be a dangerous job, and perhaps one of the greatest risks a professional roofer faces is falling. Whether it is a fall from a ladder or a tall roof, the potential injuries can be devastating. While many imagine workers on a single-story residential roof, many roofs in the commercial world are very high, and a fall from such heights could prove fatal. Because of this, there are important guidelines that all roofing companies must follow to ensure the safety of all their workers.
OSHA, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the government agency tasked with providing education and enforceable guidelines designed to keep workers safe. OSHA requires all employers in the construction industry to implement an effective safety program. In the roofing industry, employers are required to provide fall protection training to their employees.
Personal Fall Arrest Systems
Many commercial roofing companies provide their workers with a PFAS, or Personal Fall Arrest System. A PFAS consists of a roof anchor, a harness, and a lifeline or lanyard, and will prevent a worker from coming into contact with a lower level if they fall. Falls are the number one cause of injury and death in the roofing industry, and while a PFAS won’t necessarily prevent falls, it can significantly decrease the number of injuries and fatalities caused by unprotected falls.
One option available to roofing companies when working on roofs lacking a perimeter barrier of the proper height, are temporary guardrails. Although temporary guardrails can be relatively expensive, because they attach to the structural elements of a building, they can provide an effective physical barrier which can prevent an inattentive worker from falling over the edge of a roof. According to OSHA regulations, guardrails must be able to withstand at least 200 pounds of force, and must be at least 39 inches high.
In lieu of more expensive guardrails, employers can opt for warning and safety lines. Warning lines typically come in the form of ropes, wires or chains and are sometimes adorned with colorful pennant flags which provide a strong visual cue to a worker who might otherwise step too close to the edge of a roof. These lines are typically positioned about 6 feet from the edge of the roof. A worker must be equipped with a PFAS at all times when performing work inside the six foot fall zone.
A Safety Monitor is a trained and competent person who supervises jobs with a critical and attentive eye toward worker safety and takes disciplinary action workers if they violate safety guidelines. This can be extremely helpful, as workers are often so focused on their work they can be unaware of how close they are to potential danger.
At Pro Roof Safety is Number One
At Pro Roof we believe in the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, which is why we provide regular OSHA safety training, job site safety meetings, high quality fall protection equipment and regular job safety monitoring by OSHA qualified personnel.
All competent roofing companies should consider fall safety a critical component of their operation. The health and safety of our workers is not only important to us as a company, but to our clients as well, as these precautions can significantly reduce liability for both parties. At Pro Roof, safety is a top priority, and we pride ourselves on our rigid guidelines to protect our employees and customers.