Play it Safe: Roofing Construction Safety Tips

Guy Standing on Roof

According to OSHA, the construction industry is one of the most accident prone, with most accidents involving slipping and falling, especially from heights. One in ten construction workers is injured on the job every year and a 45-year veteran has a one in 200 chance of dying on the job, with 72% of fatal falls happen from a roof or scaffolding. Yet despite these grim statistics, the most commonly-cited OSHA violation is fall protection. How do you protect workers on a roof? Here are some great tips to put into practice on your crew:

  • Start by performing a safety inspection of the site. Take a good look at all possible safety hazards, including hard surfaces on the ground, electrical lines and rotten roof decking.
  • Provide fall protection equipment for your people. Safety harnesses can be a great help to prevent injuries from falls. Roofing brackets can also help prevent falls by providing better traction, especially on steeper roofs. 
  • Ladder SafetyDon't work in dangerous conditions. If it's been wet or freezing conditions, you'll should put off work until conditions improve. Dealing with these type of conditions on the level ground is difficult enough without adding a pitch and possibility of a fall from height into the equation. If you're working on a metal roof, make sure to sweep or blow off wood chips or sawdust to help maintain traction and stay on lumber or asphalt-shingled areas to take advantage of better traction. Keep your work area cleaned up and neat, so debris won't cause tripping.
  • Move dangerous or hard items around the roof's perimeter. By moving these items away from the area around the roof's edge, there's less chance of someone falling on them, damaging the item and preventing additional injury if a fall does happen. You'll also want to keep tools and roofing materials away from the edges.
  • Practice ladder safety on your job sites. Make sure your ladder is set up on a level, hard surface such as a board or concrete paver stone. Use ladder brackets to help prevent your ladder from slipping and falling over. Use an extension ladder that can reach at least three feet past the edge of the roof so you have something to hold onto while moving from the ladder to the roof or vice-versa. When possible, use a fiberglass ladder instead of an aluminum one, especially if you are anywhere near power lines.
  • Make sure your people watch for electrical lines. Though this isn't specifically a fall issue in and of itself, it can add to the problem. Receiving a solid electrical shock can knock a person unconscious, causing the person to fall off the roof and receive further injury in addition to the injuries from the electrical shock.
  • Don't skimp on your footwear. Good traction is vital to maintaining safe conditions on your roofing project. Soft-soled boots or treads designed to provide better traction are your best bet, especially those designed for construction work. Keep the treads cleaned to help allow better traction.

By putting roofing safety practices in place for your crew, you're not only saving them from injuries, you're also lowering your risk of law suits, higher insurance costs and bad crew morale. At Wallboard Supply Company, we've been providing safety equipment for the industry and serving the four-state area for over 45 years. With free quotes, online ordering and job site delivery, we're the supply company that provides more than just construction supplies. Contact us today for more details on how we can help make your project an amazing success.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.