What’s a number one rule for all roofing contractors? Safety comes first. As contractors face many hazards while working on a roof, whether due to the steep slope of the roof, extensive rooftop equipment crowding the roof, or hazardous fall exposures, it is necessary that workers take certain precautions on the roof. Here at Knickerbocker, we have our own stringent safety rules for our workers, but there are also industry standards set by OSHA to ensure the roofers’ safety. These standards, some of which are federal and others that are state governed, are in place to ensure workers go home safe at the end of the workday. We take this very seriously and have safety standards that exceed those of OSHA.
Since a lot of the work that we do involves work at steep roofs, on scaffolding, and from manlifts, we require all workers to be tied off under these conditions. The OSHA standards also require employers to take caution and provide many guards. According to the OSHA website, in order to comply with the Fall Protection Standard, employers must “guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover), provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open-sided platform, floor, or runway…provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured, plus other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs including safety and harness and line, safety nets, stair railings, and hand rails.”
OSHA is currently proposing more stringent standards for contractors performing construction work on residential buildings. However, OSHA has been finding that there are still contractors that do not follow the original less stringent fall protection standards. While OSHA has continued their enforcement efforts, it is evident that many contractors need to be educated as to the new fall protection standards. As a result, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has begun training programs for roofing contractors.
At the end of the day, the safety of the roofers is of utmost importance. Implementing fall protection standards is only the first step in ensuring roofing contractors are as safe as possible.