Working on rooftops can be dangerous. According to BLS.gov, roofing workers had one of the highest rates of nonfatal falls, with 86.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2016. In 2020, the number of fatal accidents for roofers was 50 per 100,000 full-time workers. It’s not surprising that working on rooftops incurs risk, with heavy lifting, frequent climbing, and working in the scorching heat. OSHA considers roof safety to be paramount, and it’s something that commercial/industrial building managers must consider.
While falls are one of the most prominent injuries that occurs when working on roofs, there are other potential risks. Commercial/industrial building managers can help mitigate many of these risks by providing safer working conditions on the roof, much of which can be accomplished with the use of rooftop support equipment.
Let’s examine some common risks and assess how rooftop support equipment can supplement your safety plans.
Types of Injuries
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. According to OSHA, roof safety from falls is an ongoing concern, with nearly 34% of deaths between 2003 and 2013 resulting from accidents. Yet roof workers and maintenance personnel are at risk of several types of injuries, not just falls.
When working on a building’s rooftop, workers must be mindful of the potential risk of electrocution. Natural events like thunderstorms could pose a hazard, but simply working around equipment could result in a disaster, such as if metal ladders contact power lines or exposed cables. To help avoid electrocutions, use a ladder that doesn’t conduct electricity, such as a wooden ladder or fiberglass ladder with non-conductive rails. Better yet, make sure your equipment and wires are well-organized and corralled with cable tray supports and more.
Maintenance and roofing workers not only have to watch where they place their ladders, but they must also watch for hazards on the rooftop surface. These objects can include disorganized equipment and accessories, construction materials left behind, and loose cables or piping. You can avoid the accidents and injuries that can result from a trip or spill by designing a rooftop with access for workers in mind. Dedicated walkways and ramps encourage safe movement on the roof—and prevent damage to the roof itself.
Depending on their location, heat exposure is another hazard that rooftop workers face during the summer months or all year round. Exposure to extreme heat can lead to dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Some signs of dehydration include headache, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, mood changes, dark urine, or even a craving for sugar. Encouraging workers to take regular breaks, especially during the scorching summer months, can help prevent unnecessary accidents.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
People don’t normally associate repetitive motion injuries with roofing. Still, roofers sustain these types of injuries by performing the same motion hours at a time each day for several years. Such injuries include pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, chronic back pain, and other injuries. A few ways to avoid an RSI are maintaining good posture, taking regular breaks, and finding stretches and exercises that keep your back, hands, and other joints limber.
Why PHP Equipment Is Best For Roof Safety
PHP understands what it means to “Build It Right” and that safety is the foremost concern for delivering sustainable and innovative solutions. Once we understand your unique needs, our engineer reviews your design specifications to ensure they meet local standards and regulations to reduce liability and prevent injury.
Discover superior performance, as we manufacture all components with the highest quality material, whether it’s polypropylene bases with UV additives or galvanized steel supports, to ensure the integrity of your roofing system. Innovation and quality are our way of life, and our ultimate focus is the satisfaction of all our clients. We strive to ensure that the integrity of our products is never compromised. We also provide technical support to oversee the installation of your support system to ensure that it performs as intended.
Safety should be a top priority when it comes to your commercial/industrial roof. With our innovative products, PHP allows you to save on energy costs, minimize frequent roof repairs, eliminate seams and joints, and provide a safer rooftop environment for all workers and personnel.