Complying with roof fall protection programs is a necessity for any roofing contractor. It keeps workers safe, protects and improves your business, and ensures proper attention is given to hazards. In roofing, fall protection should be at the center of any health and safety planning provided.
Every year, construction workers and roofing contracotrs experience falls from roofing projects that result in injuries and even death. Working at heights is very dangerous, thereby it is necessary to have safety measures in place to ensure every worker is protected.
Specific fall protection equipment and systems are recommended by federal guidelines, mandating employers to instruct their workers on how to use safety equipment, train them on rescue techniques, and provide them with the support they require from other co-workers to protect one’s self. To get started, the basics of a fall protection system involve a guard rail system, a safety net, and a personal fall arrest (PFA) system. For low-slope roofs, this may also involve a warning line system and/or safety monitoring systems.
Depending on what kind of roofing project you are working on, any of these systems may be more appropriate than the others. Always ensure that the systems you employ are following federal guidelines. If you do not, you open yourself and your company up to litigation should someone be injured on your watch. For example, safety nets are required to be made of only certain materials, need to be built to withstand a certain threshold of weight, and have defined rules on where they can be set up and when they need to be tested.
Moving beyond these protections, ensure that every harness fits properly on workers and that they are appropriately secured. Safety equipment such as this should be regularly inspected. Working spaces should also be kept clean and free of any unrelated debris. Any holes over a roof, such as sky-lighting, should be covered or cordoned off. Finally, ensure that there is enough time to get a job done in a safe manner. With the risks involved, there’s no sense in rushing a job or committing to a timeline that requires a roofing contractor to perform unsafe work.
Safety culture spreads from the top down so it is up to management to set the tone. Safety should make for a key component to any roofing work plan. Furthermore, as a roofing contractor, there is a responsibility to keep up with fall protection regulation changes. Beyond this, safety should be something regularly discussed with employees. Consider encouraging or mandating employees to attend designated safety courses. Talk to them about any concerns they may have. Perhaps they have some suggestions on how to improve safety or can identify some issues that you have not touched upon yet.
By investing the time to enact proper roof fall protection strategies, you may one day save someone’s life. That’s what these laws are there to do. Enact safety training and education when appropriate to ensure that workers are equipped with the knowledge to thrive. When a client sees the investment you put into safety, that demonstrates to them that you’re someone they can trust to get the job done right, safely and without incident.