Roof Safety: Important for Building Owners, Too

The OSHA Booklet, “Fall Protection in Construction,” details fall protection procedures for construction workers on low-sloped roofs (defined as a slope less than or equal to 4/12). The booklet lists guardrail and safety net systems, warning lines and personal fall arrest systems as being particularly effective in helping secure the safety of roofing contractors.

Facility owners and managers must also consider the safety of their own employees who are on the rooftop, performing routine maintenance and repair work on roof-mounted equipment or inspecting the roof surface for signs of age or damage.

It’s a timely issue, because as temperatures cool and winter approaches, it’s important for facility owners and managers to evaluate and prepare their roofs for the harsh weather to come. When inclement weather hits, safety awareness needs extra emphasis, because roofs can get slippery and hazardous after rain, frost or snowfall.

Here are some considerations for building owners and their rooftop work/maintenance crews:

  • Safety around roof hatches is critical, and hatch ladder extensions, guard rails and safety posts help secure workers who are stepping onto and off of a rooftop. Safety posts typically mount to the top rungs of a fixed ladder beneath the hatch and extend above the hatch when it’s open, giving users a secure and balanced hand-hold while going through the hatch. Right: Example of a roof hatch safety post, made by Lane-Aire Manufacturing Corporation.
safety-post-hatch - lane-aire manufacturing corporation
  • Brightly colored safety tape identifies hazards by enhancing their visibility to people working on a roof. In addition to marking the roof perimeter, the tape can be used to border HVAC units, rooftop photovoltaic systems, skylights, curbs, penetrations and other potentially dangerous locations.
  • Rooftop walk pads serve at least two purposes. They increase safety levels for workers on the roof by providing a non-slip walking and working surface. In addition, the pads provide a buffer between where workers walk, operate and set tools down and the roofing membrane; the pads help protect the membrane and preserve the life of the roof.
    RoofTrak-1
    RoofTrak-2

Above: Roof Trak® Walkway Pads, Manufactured by Duro-Last Roofing.

  • Perhaps the most important rooftop safety consideration for owners and managers is awareness: of the potential hazards that exist for workers as well as the wide variety of safety gear that’s available on the market to help protect them. In addition, roof access should be limited to authorized personnel who have been trained in safety procedures and who know the roof they’re working on – its size, dimensions, edges and slope, as well as the location of equipment, penetrations and other apparatus.

When you do need to call in a roofing contractor for repairs or replacement, make sure they’re qualified in all aspects – including their safety record. At Royalty, we are committed to being leaders in the roofing industry with our established and proven safety program. We have a full-time safety director on staff and have many other safety measures in place. To learn more about our safety record and program, follow this link.