When working on rooftops, safety should be everyone’s number one priority. There are, unfortunately, many different hazards that can be present on a rooftop. This article goes into the top 10 common hazards you should keep in mind before stepping foot onto a rooftop.
- Roof Stability. It’s important to make sure the roof is strong enough to support both the weight of the workers and their equipment. Checking to ensure the trusses are intact and the roofs underlay are stable are important steps to take before stepping foot onto a roof. One should also take extra precaution when stepping onto a roof after a storm as there could be unexpected damage.
- Current Weather Conditions. It’s not just important to remember past storms but to keep in mind the current weather as well. Ice, snow and wind are all things that can create unexpected hazards on a roof. Roof membranes are especially prone to becoming slippery in these weather conditions. In addition on particularly sunny days make sure you have sunglasses on to prevent sun blindness.
- Roof Holes, Such as Skylights. Make sure to review the roof plan before stepping onto a rooftop in order to understand where any holes, such as skylights are located. Accidentally stepping on/into a hole could have deadly consequences. Which is why building owners should consider installing skylight guardrail to ensure maintenance workers safety.
- Roof Edge Awareness. It is important to always keep an eye on the location of the roof edge. Sometimes people become so engaged in their work that they lose sight of the roof edge, which can have some quite shocking consequences. In order to mitigate this risk either install rooftop guardrail or a warning line system so it is easy for maintenance workers to see the roof edge.
- Improper Use of Fall Protection Equipment. This PPE is not there to look nice or for liability reasons, but for YOUR safety. Ensuring your equipment is up to date and properly maintained should be one of your top priorities, it could be the difference between a boring work day or one that ends in pain. Ensure your railings are properly anchored, make sure your lanyards are the proper length and ensure that your tie-off points are strong.
- Roof Pitch. The steeper the roof is the easier it is to slip and fall. Make sure you have the proper fall protection in place to ensure maintenance worker safety. Ensuring you have proper fall prevention systems in place can help ensure worker safety, things like restraint anchors should be one of your top priorities in installing.
- Ladder Placement. Before using any fixed access ladder check to make sure it’s safe. A fixed access ladder should have its feet secured at the bottom either to the wall or ground and the top should be secured to the roof (if it is practical). Annual fixed access ladder inspections can help to ensure your fixed access ladders is always safe.
- Split Level Roofs and Parapet Walls. These can be especially dangerous and should be treated with extra caution as more more often than not there is no safety system in place to safely reach the second level and the second level often has minimal roof edge safety precautions in place. Consider installing a RoofStep if you have regular maintenance workers accessing your rooftop.
- Roof Construction and Equipment. You need to be constantly aware of the variety of hazards around you when you are on a rooftop. Equipment such as pipes and vents can become a serious trip hazard or snag on your gear. Roofs in disrepair could also have soft spots, cracks and loose material making it difficult to find stable footing.
- Roof Structural Failure. At times a roof can simply fail. This is a prominent issue if the worker needs to assess the roof in order to make repairs to it. To avoid injury or falling off the roof should it fail, workers should access the roofs strength before stepping on it and should be trained on what to do should the roof fail.
Rooftop safety should be the number one priority for anyone who has to regularly access a rooftop and for companies that have people accessing their roof. Our fall prevention experts can work with you to develop a plan of action to help keep your employees and those visiting your facility are safe.