SAFETY MINUTE: How safe is your roof?
Did you know?
Failure to provide adequate Fall Protection is among the top cited regulations by OSHA year after year and falls from height are one of the primary killers when it comes to workplace fatalities. The rooftop is the most common area where general industry employees are at the greatest risk of falling. This citation is included under Walking Working Surface Subpart D included on our comprehensive OSHA Compliance Checklist.
ABOUT ROOF SAFETY
Going up on the roof may be something you have not done, especially the roof at your workplace, but there are times when someone will need to access the roof of your facility; it may be staff, maintenance workers, contractors, or inspectors.
Consider the following activities that take place on the roof:
• changing a filter or inspecting a piece of hardware
• performing maintenance or repair of HVAC equipment
• servicing security and surveillance equipment
• gutter cleaning, snow removal, or window washing preparation
As roof access is not necessarily an everyday part of someone’s job, one may not be aware of the safety hazards that exist including:
• exhaust gas
• slippery walking surface
• exposure to weather (wind, lightning, and precipitation)
• limited egress
• falls (due to unprotected roof edges/changes in elevation)
• lighting (being too bright or lack of light)
• not following procedures (lock themselves out, no use of a radio for communication)
For these reasons and based on OSHA statistics, it is clear that roof safety needs to be a priority as it can be a dangerous place to work.
Of the hazards mentioned above, falls from height are one of the most dangerous and according to OSHA standard 1910.28(a) (1)- 1910.28 (c) (3), employers are required to provide protection for employees exposed to falling and falling object hazards. If you do not meet this standard you are not only creating a risk for your staff, but also increasing the risk of receiving an OSHA fine.
HOW CAN CAPACCIO HELP?
CAPACCIO has assisted many companies with rooftop safety audits to ensure proper safety measures are in place for employees and contractors. During the audit, we conduct a critical analysis of the entire rooftop surface to identify the hazards where workers may be exposed to the greatest risk including access points, unprotected edges, walking paths, rooftop equipment, and roof openings. From there, we determine what hazards exist as well as develop procedures to ensure the safety of employees and contractors. Typical improvements we have recommended include adding proper guarding along unprotected edges, eliminating trip hazards or implementing work rules that keep employees away from unprotected edges and changes in elevation.
Typical adjustments we have made include adding proper guarding along unprotected edges, eliminating trip hazards, or implementing work rules that keep employees away from unprotected edges and changes in elevation. We also recommend best management practices which further ensure safety but are not mandated/required by OSHA. These can include adding non-slip walking/working mats (especially with winter months coming); adding edge protectors to protect against sharp edges, and adding lighting or more lighting, especially with it getting dark earlier, more lights may be necessary.
The value of having a roof top safety audit will not only identify any gaps that there may be in compliance, but it also ensures the safety of your workers and contractors, improves your safety culture, and prevents you from receiving OSHA violations.
At CAPACCIO, we live our mission of "Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper". We align EHS with your overall business objectives to strategically position you for success. Our unique approach combines our extensive EHS experience with innovative tools, such as our EHS Dashboard™, to effectively address your challenges. Our comprehensive solutions have resulted in award-winning EHS and overall business performance for our clients. We are certified WBENC, WBE. To learn more visit us at www.capaccio.com.