by Ryan Gibson, Western/ Southern Safety Director, Lenexa, KS
In the construction industry, falls are the leading cause of death. Roof falls are costly and have a large impact on a company. It is crucial that a company has a solid plan for eliminating roof falls.
To reduce roof falls, it is important to always conduct a thorough inspection of the roof work site - first from underneath and then from above. When conducting the inspection, there are many hazards to look out for such as: bad or suspected bad decking, holes or openings such as skylights, access areas and all leading edge work areas. Once the hazards are identified, a plan should be established that will attempt to eliminate or take measures that will reduce the likelihood of injury if a fall occurs.
Once the plan is complete, the plan must be communicated to the crews that will be conducting the work. The crews shall be trained on how and why fall protection must be used and understand how not using fall protection affects them, their family and the entire company.
Finally, once a safety plan has been established and communicated to trained associates, there must be established documented consequences if the plan is not adhered to. The rules must be supported fully by all members of management and must be stringent enough to deter workers from violating them. Members of management and the safety team must frequently conduct job site inspections that will ensure the plan and the rules are being followed.
When the above is completed over and over on projects, a culture is created where safety is of the utmost importance - therefore helping to eliminate and reduce roof falls.