Rooftop Safety Hazards
Rooftop safety is of paramount importance to those of us in construction.
Worrying about safety is natural when working at heights.
Rooftop safety falls under one of the most important, most dangerous aspects of industrial safety: fall prevention and protection.
Rooftop safety hazards exist even on the most seemingly stable roof. These hazards are not always obvious, but they need to be.
Protect yourself and crew from injury (or even death) by being aware of the following seven rooftop safety hazards.
7 Rooftop Safety Hazards & Tips for Safety
1. Know Your Boundaries:
It seems obvious, but even experienced rooftop-workers can lose track of boundaries.
This is especially true if working on different roofs from one day to the next.
What can you do?
Mark off, tie off, or put railings where possible, and make sure that all workers know how to detect when they are nearing the edge.
2. Weather Conditions:
When it comes to rooftop safety, no independent factor can do as much to change the conditions as the weather.
Not just the current days’ weather, but the days surrounding the job as well.
Hot days can cause the roof to bow. They can also cause the roof’s surface to become stickier than normal.
On the other end of the weather spectrum, cold days prevent different rooftop safety hazards.
Ice or precipitation creates a slick surface, particularly on a membrane roof.
No matter what the surface, always be aware of winds. High winds and unsuspected gusts can put a worker off balance, as well as cause surrounding trees to fall.
3. Roof Holes:
It may not be an obvious rooftop safety hazard that causes that unwanted injury.
Take a skylight or even more dangerous hazard like a poorly patched or covered hole; be certain your workers know where they are and keep them marked whenever possible.
Something as simple as a highly visible marking paint can prevent rooftop hazards and keep your workers’ injury free.
4. Roof Characteristics
Different roof-tops present various potential hazards.
Steeper pitches and split-level roofs make it hard to keep proper footing.
Ridge vents, chimneys, and shingle bundles can obscure, damage or block walking paths.
Underlying issues such as weakened trusses and poor materials used in previous construction can lead to breakthroughs or collapses.
All aspects of rooftop safety should be inspected prior to work. Any issues should be brought to the attention of workers immediately ( or preferably cleared/fixed).
5. Ladder Usage
Ladders are one of the most misunderstood and misused pieces of equipment.
A ladder that is not properly secured to the roof or placed with poor footing can easily tip over.
A ladder that is poorly angled can make climbing up and down hazardous, placing workers off-balance.
Despite it not being listed first on this list, do not get it confused; using the right ladder, the right way, is a large aspect of rooftop safety.
6. Poor Training
Unfortunately, some workers make it up onto the roof before they are prepared.
Worse, this doesn’t just make them a danger to themselves, but it can also make them a danger to others on the roof.
Provide a thorough training program that covers potential problems before workers even set foot on the roof.
7. Failure to Use Proper Fall Protection Equipment
Since falls are such an occupational hazard (especially in construction), we focus on fall protection equipment often.
Regardless of potentially existing hazards on a site or rooftop, fall protection is often a last-ditch savior.
If a railing is poorly anchored, a lanyard is too long, or the tie-down point weak, the equipment will not work as intended.
When this happens, the absence of fall protection equipment and proper height safety procedure is incredibly dangerous.
Rooftop safety hazards can be present at any height, so these seven particular hazards should be taken into consideration in all circumstances.
Mitigating all of them should be the primary aim of workers, as well the person in charge of the project. Working together, everyone can reduce rooftop safety hazards and make them a safer place to work.
Did we leave anything off the list? Let us know by joining the conversation on social media.