Roof Work Safety Tips
There’s no doubt about it: roofers provide vital services. But as important as it is for people and businesses to have sturdy, functional roofs on the buildings they occupy, the work can be extremely risky for roofers. Construction work in general comes with a lot of risks, but roofing can be particularly dangerous types of construction work because of the height roofers need to work at, which can often have them working near power lines in addition to the general risk of falling.
But no matter what job a person has, they have a right to work in an environment that is reasonably safe. Even if a job is widely seen as being risky, like roofing, employers still have a responsibility to make sure that reasonably foreseeable hazards are minimized. Here are just a few of the most basic things that can be done to help roofers stay safe on the job.
Fall Prevention Education
Between time spent working directly on roofs and time spent working on ladders, it’s no wonder that slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of injuries among roofers. Even when people are being careful, it’s still very easy to fall.
A basic part of on-the-job training for roofers should include fall prevention training, not just covering how to recognize fall hazards and following fall prevention measures, but how to maintain and inspect fall prevention equipment. While some roofers have many years of professional experience and may be aware of these sorts of things, college-aged students who are just getting their start and learning the trade need to be educated on this. And even more experienced workers can benefit from occasional retraining.
Fall prevention equipment like harnesses can help save lives, but that equipment needs to be properly maintained and replaced when needed to provide the protection people need. When this kind of equipment is worn out or damaged, it can fail right when people need it most.
Dealing With the Weather
Aside from working at a height, weather-related factors are another one of the biggest dangers roofers face on the job. Sometimes, they may be working in high heat. Other times, they could be working on a day with looming thunderstorms, high winds, or dangerously cold temperatures. Because of this, it’s crucial for roofers to pay close attention to weather forecasts so that appropriate measures can be taken for everyone to stay safe.
For example, when the weather is very hot, it’s very important that roofers have access to water and a place where they can cool off. Hot weather can be very dangerous for anyone working outdoors, but roofers have the extra problem of the fact that dark roofs can absorb heat. Rain and high winds are other conditions that roofers should avoid working in.
Dressing for the Job
Clothing, footwear, and other safety gear can go a long way in helping roofers stay safe while they work. Certain types of shoes are designed to provide extra traction so that people are less likely to fall. Depending on the work being done, eye and ear protection may be necessary to prevent hearing loss caused by loud tools or eye injuries caused by debris.
In addition to protecting themselves from those types of hazards, it’s also important for roofers to use clothing for protection from the elements. Things like hats and long-sleeved shirts can help protect people from developing skin damage from sun exposure.
Get Help from a Construction Injury Lawyer
The steps listed here are just a few of the safety measures that should be taken to protect roofers. When construction companies cut corners on safety, whether it’s to save time or to save money, it’s the workers who end up paying the biggest price.
If you’ve been injured while working as a roofer, don’t hesitate to contact a workplace injury lawyer to make sure all of your rights are being protected. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have experience handling a wide range of workplace injury cases, including construction site accidents, in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
Image: iStock / sturti