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Roof Work Is Dangerous: How Can a Roofer Stay Safe?

Roof accident victims frequently ask the work injury lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy what they can do to stay safe. Below is a synopsis of what every roofer needs to know.

Roofing accidents, including falls, are among the most common, most dangerous, and yet most preventable, construction accidents. In fact, roof falls make up one third of all fatal construction falls, according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Workers engaged in winter snow removal work and residential construction are among those most at risk. Dangers to these workers, and all roof workers, include falls from elevated work space; slipping and tripping hazards; improper and/or defective equipment; electrical hazards; partial and total roof collapses; poor planning, training and communication.

So, how can roof work sites and roof work be made safer?

Safety DOs for roof work:

  • Plan ahead
  • Wear a harness and always stay connected
  • Make sure your harness fits
  • Use guardrails or lifelines
  • Inspect all fall protection equipment before use
  • Guard or cover all holes, openings, and skylights
  • Remove or clearly mark other rooftop features that could become trip hazards
  • Evaluate load bearing on the roof before beginning work
  • Use a route for accessing the roof that minimizes the risk of falling
  • Use ladders, scaffolds, lifts and other access devices safely
  • Use equipment lifts, winches, pull ropes, or similar to raise materials to the roof
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from any power line; and always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or insulated
  • Remain cautious and alert to unexpected sounds or movements

Safety DON'Ts for roof work:

  • Don't disconnect from a lifeline
  • Don't work around unprotected openings or skylights
  • Don't use defective equipment
  • Don't use powered equipment near the edge of any roof
  • Don't carry heavy or bulky objects or loads up a ladder to get them to the roof

In addition, OSHA regulations require employers to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including hazards associated with roof work. Ensuring projects are properly planned and workers have proper training and equipment, in addition to a safe work site, are among the OSHA requirements.

Sadly, roof work dangers persist and tragic roof accidents continue to occur. In fact, 2012 marked a five-year high of fatal injuries to roofers, with 70 deaths, an increase of 17 percent from the year before. There have already been 27 roof work related deaths in the first half of 2013, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

It is obvious that, despite the great number of OSHA safety regulations, roofing accidents occur with devastating frequency.

Block O'Toole & Murphy fights to protect the rights of those injured, or tragically killed, in roofing accidents. We are committed to helping injured roof workers and their families during a very difficult time. The construction accident attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP have won more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for injured victims and are available for a free consultation - at (212) 736-5300. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting the firm's website at blockotoole.com.

Sources: Workers engaged in winter snow removal work and residential construction are among those most at risk. Dangers to these workers, and all roof workers, include falls from elevated work space; slipping and tripping hazards; improper and/or defective equipment; electrical hazards; partial and total roof collapses; poor planning, training and communication.

So, how can roof work sites and roof work be made safer?

Safety DOs for roof work:

· Plan ahead

· Wear a harness and always stay connected

· Make sure your harness fits

· Use guardrails or lifelines

· Inspect all fall protection equipment before use

· Guard or cover all holes, openings, and skylights

· Remove or clearly mark other rooftop features that could become trip hazards

· Evaluate load bearing on the roof before beginning work

· Use a route for accessing the roof that minimizes the risk of falling

· Use ladders, scaffolds, lifts and other access devices safely

· Use equipment lifts, winches, pull ropes, or similar to raise materials to the roof

· Stay at least 10 feet away from any power line; and always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or insulated

· Remain cautious and alert to unexpected sounds or movements

Safety DON'Ts for roof work:

· Don't disconnect from a lifeline

· Don't work around unprotected openings or skylights

· Don't use defective equipment

· Don't use powered equipment near the edge of any roof

· Don't carry heavy or bulky objects or loads up a ladder to get them to the roof

In addition, OSHA regulations require employers to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including hazards associated with roof work. Ensuring projects are properly planned and workers have proper training and equipment, in addition to a safe work site, are among the OSHA requirements.

Sadly, roof work dangers persist and tragic roof accidents continue to occur. In fact, 2012 marked a five-year high of fatal injuries to roofers, with 70 deaths, an increase of 17 percent from the year before. There have already been 27 roof work related deaths in the first half of 2013, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

It is obvious that, despite the great number of OSHA safety regulations, roofing accidents occur with devastating frequency.

Block O'Toole & Murphy fights to protect the rights of those injured, or tragically killed, in roofing accidents. We are committed to helping injured roof workers and their families during a very difficult time. The construction accident attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP have won more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for injured victims and are available for a free consultation at (212) 736-5300. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting the firm's website at blockotoole.com.

Sources:

https://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/factsheet.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2000-116/

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-installing-standing-seam-metal-roofs.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/quicktakes/qt03012013.html#2

https://www.osha.gov/video/wa_fallprotection/wa_fallprotection_roofing.html

https://www.osha.gov/dts/vtools/construction/reroofing_fnl_eng_web.html

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA-3513roof-snow-hazard.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10923

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-during-residential-construction-roof-sheathing.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-roof-repair-factsheet.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-installing-roof-trusses-factsheet.pdf

[many of the above are also available in Spanish, for example:https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/construction_sp/index.html]

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html

http://ehstoday.com/construction/falls-roofs-account-one-third-construction-fall-fatalities

http://ohsonline.com/articles/2013/04/01/i-fell-off-the-roof-today.aspx

https://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/factsheet.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2000-116/

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-installing-standing-seam-metal-roofs.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/quicktakes/qt03012013.html#2

https://www.osha.gov/video/wa_fallprotection/wa_fallprotection_roofing.html

https://www.osha.gov/dts/vtools/construction/reroofing_fnl_eng_web.html

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA-3513roof-snow-hazard.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10923

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-during-residential-construction-roof-sheathing.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-roof-repair-factsheet.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/reducing-falls-installing-roof-trusses-factsheet.pdf

[many of the above are also available in Spanish, for example:https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/construction_sp/index.html]

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html

http://ehstoday.com/construction/falls-roofs-account-one-third-construction-fall-fatalities

http://ohsonline.com/articles/2013/04/01/i-fell-off-the-roof-today.aspx

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