Roof repairs and replacement jobs are one of the most important home improvement tasks out there, but it can also put you in dangerous situations. The most significant danger to roofers is falling as it is currently one of the leading causes of accidents and injuries in the workplace.
While most licensed contractors have insurance, the health and safety of the roofers you hire is one that you need to take seriously. A grasp on the potential hazards that comes with roofing is an excellent place to understand what makes roofing so unsafe so you can start to think of ways to avoid them.
The roof needs to be strong enough to support the weight of both the workers and their equipment. An unstable roof may mean a risk of collapse under a person’s weight. Before more than one person steps on the roof, it’s imperative always to check if the roof is strong enough. Roofers should also have enough training to know what to do in the event of a roof failure.
Ladder Security and Placement
Portable ladders are a convenient tool that will give roofers a way to access the roof. But despite its simplicity, it’s still easy to make mistakes that can lead to severe injuries and even death.
A high percentage of these accidents involves ladders. Every year, a high amount of roofing accidents occurs because of poor placement of the ladder as they can become unstable if they aren’t correctly secured or tied to the roof.
For this reason, ladders and the area around it need inspection before use. Ascending and descending the ladder needs to be appropriately done by facing the ladder and keeping the feet secure. Avoid carrying unnecessary items up and down the ladder and be sure the bottom of shoes is slip-resistant.
Current weather conditions should be included during your roof work planning. There are additional risks in working at height, especially during the cold weather. Ice, snow, and winds are conditions that create physical and health hazards while roofing.
Hot and sunny weather isn’t any better. The roof can be a warm place for workers working for hours at a time, as they’re surrounded by reflected heat. Roofing repairs and renovations are also tiring activities that can cause dehydration when performed for hours under the sun.
Losing Roof Edge Awareness
Edge awareness is an essential skill that indicates the ability of an employee to track the edge of the roof from their location. Keeping an eye on the area of the roof edge is essential when engaging in roof work.
When roofers become so engaged in their work, it’s easy to lose awareness of your location in the roof. They may approach the edge without realizing it or assume that the edge is much farther than it is. As a result, they can easily fall from the side and lead to fatalities.
Sometimes, even the most experienced roofers often lose track of their current location and end up stepping too close to the edge. Every now and then, you should stop and think about exactly where you are. A rooftop guardrail or a warning line system makes it easier to notice the roof edge and mitigate this risk.
Poor Line of Sight
A good line of sight is imperative to maintain a line of sight to the roof’s edge and see any other potential hazards that may be on the roof. Ridge vents, chimneys, shingle bundles, and even fellow roofers can block your line of sight of the edge when they are not adequately built.
They must be positioned where they can’t interfere with anyone working. The entire site also needs to be brightly lit if ever you’re working in darker environments.
Roof openings such as skylights and holes are magnets for trouble. Accidentally stepping on or into a hole could have deadly consequences. Roofers can fall through the floor at a significant distance below. This can also present a risk to the people underneath the roof as well.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to use covers to protect workers from falling through any openings on roofs. Existing skylights should also be treated like actual holes and barricaded to ensure the safety of both roofers and people inside of the building.
Anyone who wants to work on roofing jobs needs to undergo training to learn essential safety elements while working on a roof. The lack of proper training can lead to workers who are rooftop safety hazards as they can cause serious injury to themselves or others.
Improper Use of Fall Protection Equipment
Besides inadequate training, severe injuries in the worksite happen when workers that lack the proper knowledge on using the equipment lead to making common mistakes like the railing that is anchored poorly, lanyards that too long, or weak tie-off points.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must before going up the roof. It protects roofers from falling and sustaining injuries. However, fall protection equipment is ineffective without any understanding and training on its proper usage.
The pitch of the roof are designed to allow run-off of rain and snow. Steeper slopes are common in residential roofs as the angled shapes are attractive to the eye. However, steeper roofs indicate a risk for roofers as you’re more likely to slip and fall on a steep slope than a flat roof. Shingles are more likely to fall on a sloped roof as well, so shingle bundles need to be properly secured.
Fahey Roofing Contractors has the experienced and skilled contractors you need to help you with any necessary roof repairs and roof replacement. We serve various areas in West Virginia and Ohio. If you have more questions, visit our website today or contact us at (304) 826-1333 for West Virginia and (740) 523-0380 for Ohio to learn more.