Tips for Safely Working on Metal Roofs
Metal roofing is a type of roofing system that can be made from a wide variety of metals and alloys, including aluminum, copper, zinc, and stainless steel. These types of roofing systems can last well anywhere from 50 to well over 100 years, depending on the type of materials used during the process of installation. More and more residential and commercial property owners are opting for metal roofing systems due to their excellent protection against the elements, durability, minimal maintenance requirements, and environmental impact.
As a roofing contractor, you’re familiar with the safety hazards associated with working at heights and on roofs of all shapes and sizes; however, you may not be familiar with the unique hazards associated with working on metal roofs. In this brief article, we’ll provide you with our top safety tips for working on metal roofs. For a legal advocate who can help defend your business against disputes and lawsuits, consult a roofing lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
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Inspect the Roof
Before you begin work on any metal roofing project, it’s best to conduct an assessment of the metal roof. This will assist you and your team in identifying potential hazards, such as weak spots and open penetrations, checking for equipment left behind by previous workers, and ensuring that you have a good understanding of the current condition of the roof. Above all else, it’s important to check if the metal roof is wet or has layers of dust, dirt, pollen, or oil residue. Metal roofs can be particularly slippery when wet as can other roofing systems, including slate and tile roofs. In the case that equipment like anchors were left behind by previous workers, it’s critical to make sure this equipment is secure and in compliance with safety standards before utilizing it during the course of your project.
Prepare the Roof
The next step prior to beginning work on a metal roof is to prepare the roof to protect your team from situations that could cause them to slip and fall. The placement of materials, ladders, and other equipment are crucial during this stage as improperly placed materials are difficult for workers to access and, thus, more likely to cause fall hazards. Materials that fall off of the roof become a danger to workers below as well. To reduce these risks, employers should ensure workers are able to safely access and exit the roof, ladders are secured, materials are properly placed and cannot slide off the roof edge, and signs are posted that warn other workers of potential hazards. If you’re still concerned about workers entering the danger zone surrounding the metal roof, you may also establish a restricted area around the perimeter of the roofing project. All of these safety requirements can be found in 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Safety and Health Regulations for Construction. If you find yourself struggling to ensure compliance with the applicable OSHA regulations, don’t hesitate to consult a roofing attorney with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
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Select the Appropriate Fall Protection Equipment
During work on a metal roof, one of the most important things you can do as an employer to protect the health and safety of your workers is to select and utilize the appropriate safety equipment. Generally speaking, for work performed on metal roofs, contractors should protect their workers with the following fall protection equipment: personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, or ladders. As previously discussed, should you decide to protect your workers with the use of ladders, it’s essential that you ensure any and all ladders you use are in sound condition. They should be positioned on solid ground and at a gradual angle so there is no risk of them falling backward. Ideally, there should be several ladder rungs above the edge of the roof as well.
Personal fall arrest systems, on the other hand, consist of an anchorage, a full-body harness, and a connector. As personal fall arrest systems are designed to safely stop a fall, a breakdown in any component of the system can be extremely dangerous. This is why it’s crucial to select the appropriate equipment that allows your workers and jobsite as a whole to comply with all relevant OSHA standards and regulations. If you have received an OSHA citation related to fall protection, reach out to a roofing attorney in Florida who will work to protect your best interest.
What we’ve discussed thus far is only a small fragment of the hazards associated with working on metal roofs, including those associated with working at heights and on ladders, power tools, noise, inclement weather conditions, and more. Roofers throughout our nation face serious injury, illness, and death each and every day due to employers not adequately accounting for these risks. By making use of the safe practices shared in this article and complying with the relevant OSHA standards, you can prevent fall-related injuries on the jobsite. If you need any further assistance with developing a plan and ensuring the proper fall protection equipment is available, consult a roofing lawyer in Florida with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
If you would like to speak with an experienced roofing attorney, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.