Roofing is one of the most dangerous contract jobs in America. Because roofers must climb to the top of buildings, fall accidents are the number one concern when planning or implementing a roofing service. As the building owner or manager, you are just as responsible for providing a safe working environment as the roofer is responsible for following relevant laws and safety requirements.
If you want to reduce liability and provide a safe working environment for your roofing contractors, there are several steps you can take to prepare before the service. OSHA provides simple guidelines for roofing work that can help both you and your contractor prepare.
OSHA’s Plan, Provide, and Train Model
OSHA recommends a three-step process for roofing safety compliance, including proper planning, providing adequate safety equipment, and training roofers as needed through licensing programs to ensure they are ready for the job. While you don’t need to train the roofers yourself, as a business you are responsible for several parts of this safety protocol:
- Plan a safe working surface by removing surface hazards, holes, and impalements. OSHA requires a safe working environment for roofing work, so be sure to inspect the roofing prior to maintenance service. If you see a place where a roofer could easily trip or get hurt while walking on the roof, you must either warn them or remove the surface hazard yourself.
- Plan the work site ahead of time to keep work materials close and on hand. Climbing up and down to the roof is the most dangerous part of a roofer’s job. To minimize fall risks, OSHA requires work materials to be close by while repairs or maintenance are being performed. Ensure your roofers follow this guideline and provide them with adequate materials for the job as needed.
- Provide fall safety equipment. Most roofing contractors will provide their own safety equipment, so make sure your contractors are following guidelines and not skipping any steps. This liability can fall on you if you’re not careful.
- Train anyone on the worksite on fall prevention strategies. Roofers are required to complete a licensing program before they can work on commercial sites, but training doesn’t solely fall on their shoulders. If anyone is on the worksite with them, be sure to go over safety protocols and ensure they are prepared for any part of the roof maintenance process.
Roofing safety is critical for both contractor and business owner to understand. If you want to learn more about safety compliance for roofing or other maintenance work, visit our Resource Center.