Rooftop safety practices should cover everyone that gets on the facility roof, including pedestrians, clients, the maintenance crew, subcontractors and employees. In addition to minimizing the risk to people, a proactive roof program safeguards the roof system. Something as simple as a carelessly dropped cigarette can melt a hole in a PVC membrane leading to a leak next time it rains. Allowing untrained or unqualified staff, rooftop unit installers or technicians on the roof is asking for trouble.
Accidental falls are a leading cause of worker death in the construction industry. Professional roofing crews, workers and repairmen use perimeter warning lines and personal fall arrest systems to reduce the risk of injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the use of scaffolding, aerial lifts, ladders and mechanical equipment on the rooftop. Safe-monitoring systems that feature an on-site monitor, reduce the threat of injury to workers on the roof. Safety monitors must be able to recognize potential fall hazards and immediately warn any worker that is acting in an unsafe manner.
Guidelines for Facility Managers
It’s just as important for facility managers to adopt safe-roof practices. Approved walk paths protect the roof’s surface while directing employee and mechanical contractor foot traffic across safe areas of the roof. Guardrails should be installed around openings, runways, ramps and crossover walkways. Keeping the roof free of debris and tripping hazards protects workers and the roofing system. Not all repair and sealant products are suitable for use on all roofing systems. If maintenance crews are going to make emergency repairs, they must be knowledgeable in compatible product usage.
General Rooftop Safety Precautions
All employees, mechanical contractors and anyone else that will be on the roof should be informed of all hazards and instructed in safe roof practices. Clothing should be comfortable but not so loose as to create a tripping hazard. Shoes should have non-slip soles. Workers should wear appropriate eye protection to reduce glare, UV rays and protect eyes from dust and airborne debris. Create a culture of safety, but if an accident occurs, launch a prompt investigation, even if it appears to be a minor mishap.
North American Roofing Safe Practices
Our most valuable assets are our clients and employees, and we strive to give both the safest working environment. We perform a safety analysis for every roofing project and our crews are professionally trained in establishing a safe work site. We take every precaution to prevent injury to rooftop workers and to those on the ground who are at risk from falling objects. North American Roofing complies with OSHA regulations on every project, and we work with facility managers to design and install safety provisions for those who will be on the roof after we’re gone.