The Greatest Danger in Roofing - Falls
Falls are one of the greatest hazards on construction sites. In the roofing industry, roof falls are frequently the number one hazard and the incident that results in the most catastrophic injuries. Recognizing these fall hazards is crucial in the protection of workers. The first step in recognizing these potential hazards is proper training. Educating workers on what fall hazards are and ways to prevent them is key to preventing incidents.
Unprotected edges, bad decking, open holes/skylights and falls from a ladder are the most common roofing fall hazards. When these situations expose workers to a fall of six (6) feet or greater, a warning line system must be set up six (6) feet or greater from the edge or a personal fall arrest system must be utilized.
Additional fall protection methods, when working with open hole and/or skylights hazards, is the installation of a cover that is secured, marked “hole” or “cover” and be able to support twice the expected load.
Falls from ladders are most often created by the user with improper setup and improper use. Examples may include ladders not setup at the proper ¼ angle, not being properly secured on both ends or side rails not extending three feet beyond the roof edge when used for access. Examples of improper use would be working from the top two steps of a ladder, using a step ladder in a closed position or not maintaining three points of contact while on a ladder. Ladders should ALWAYS be used in accordance to the manufacturer’s recommendations and be inspected prior to use.
About National Safety Stand Down 2019
The National Safety Stand Down is organized by the Department of Labor to prevent falls in construction and accidents. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 366 of the 971 construction fatalities recorded in 2017 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.
Blog contributed by Michael Litzenburger, CentiMark Corporate Safety Manager, Canonsburg, PA, May 2019