Learn about the importance of roof safety, how to identify and eliminate the common rooftop safety hazards, and the top 10 safety precautions for the safe work of roofers.
Published 17 Nov 2021
Roof safety is a system of preventive and safety measures when performing work and repairs on rooftops. Roof safety should be practiced while on the job to avoid personal injuries and structural damage.
Performing roof work exposes workers to risks such as falls, which are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites that falls from roofs account for 34% of all fall deaths.
5 Common Roof Safety Hazards
To protect roofers from serious injury and death it is important to identify hazards when working on rooftops and to follow critical safety steps to control these hazards. Below are the most common rooftop hazards that should be identified and controlled to keep roofers safe:
Always watch out for fall hazards when working at heights. Basic questions to ask yourself and your team should be: Is the structure strong enough to support the weight? Are there holes to watch out for? Are guardrails available for workers? Are ladders properly placed and not defective? Use an inspection checklist to ask the right questions and assess fall hazards when working from heights.
Power tools are essential when working on rooftops. However, if improperly used at heights, power tools can inflict serious damage to workers as well as cause slips and falls. Ensure your team is properly trained to handle power tools and that they are not defective.
The construction industry is most at risk from electrical hazards, accounting for 52% of all electrical fatalities in the US workplace. Workers most at risk of electrical hazards include those working on rooftops and near power lines. Improper handling of electrical equipment can cause massive electrical shock, burns, fires, and death. Conduct regular electrical safety checks to identify and control possible causes of electrocution to prevent accidents.
Common hazardous substances when working on rooftops include exposure to asbestos, paint fumes, and harmful chemicals. Check for substances that may harm workers on-site and take appropriate action including proper storage and safe handling of hazardous substances.
Whether it’s the heat of torches used for roofing or extremes in weather, workers must be protected from the dangers of extreme temperature by identifying the risks brought by equipment or current weather conditions. Have your team perform a toolbox talk before your shift to decide whether you should commence work for the day.
It is imperative that rooftop hazards be identified to minimize the risk of accidents. You can use iAuditor’s free digital checklists to conduct your hazard identification assessments and take immediate action before accidents happen.
Employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized hazards. Depending on the associated hazards, some of the PPE that may be required for working on a roof can include, but are not limited to:
According to OSHA, safety signs are generally categorized into three types—danger signs, warning signs, and caution signs. When working on rooftops, roofers will usually encounter the following examples of roof safety signs and what they should do:
When there is a roof safety danger sign, there are immediate hazardous conditions that will lead to serious injury and death if not avoided. Upon seeing this sign before any roofing work, avoid it at all costs.
When there is a roof safety warning sign, there are existing life-threatening hazards that can lead to serious injury or death. Accessing roofs by permit means that only authorized personnel or trained employees can be on them. Warning signs represent a hazard level between danger and caution, needing specific precautionary measures to be taken.
When there is a roof safety caution sign, there are minor hazard situations where a non-immediate or potential hazard or unsafe practice presents a lesser threat of employee injury. Roofers should be mindful of caution signs and apply necessary control measures in any roofing work.
As the topmost safety precaution for working on roofs, pre-start talks should be performed. Listed below are sample roof safety topics for meetings prior to commencing roofing work:
You should now be familiar with the common rooftop safety hazards and basic steps to follow to improve safety in your workplace. Explore how using a digital inspection app like iAuditor by SafetyCulture can help you keep improving rooftop safety in your workplace.
A roof inspection software is a digital tool used by safety inspectors in the construction industry during rooftop safety assessments. It’s primarily used to identify safety hazards and non-compliance with safety protocols while working at heights so measures can be taken to prevent accidents.
Rooftop inspections play a critical role in ensuring worker safety and productivity. According to the data gathered by the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, 42% of construction industry fatalities from 1982 to 2015 were from falls. Considering the dire consequences of subpar safety protocols, it is important that construction firms invest in ensuring the safety of their workers.
With the iAuditor Roof Inspection Software, safety inspectors can take advantage of intuitive digital templates to improve the efficiency of walkthrough inspections and use automatic report generation to improve awareness and visibility within the organization. Here are the upsides of using iAuditor as your roof inspection software:
The occupational hazards involved in working at heights can be fatal, and it’s the safety inspectors’ job to ensure that these risks are minimized by enforcing strict adherence to safety protocols. With the help of the iAuditor roof inspection checklist, achieving and maintaining an effective safety program in your organization just became easier.
Always begin roof work with a toolbox talk to mitigate possible roofing risks. Discuss and inspect possible hazards associated with work at the site and resolved safety issues.
Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing helps enrich the quality of information in her articles.
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