Falls are the leading cause of work-related death and injury among residential construction workers. That’s why it is imperative for residential roofing workers to wear the proper personal protective equipment and use fall protection systems. You can protect your business and your workers by complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations. Make safety a priority by understanding the requirements and putting them into practice.
OSHA Regulations and Fines
Roofing businesses can keep their employees safe by closely following OSHA’s fall protection safety requirements. OSHA requires residential roofing businesses to comply with certain regulations, including not working too closely to electric power circuits, using proper insulation and correct ladder length, as well as using fall protection systems.
Regardless of a business’s size, avoiding OSHA’s safety standards can prove to be costly. For example, a West Virginia roofing contractor was fined more than $100,000 for exposing employees to workplace hazards. It was found the contractor was allowing employees to do their job without the use of a guardrail or safety net system. Another roofing contractor in Wichita, Kansas was fined $191,071 for several violations related to roofing safety, including failing to provide fall protection systems or training employees on fall hazards, as well as neglecting to clear debris from the work area.
Choosing to Make Safety A Priority
Dale’s Roofing is an MEM policyholder making a difference in the industry by bringing new safety techniques into their workplace. After experiencing several preventable accidents and high claim costs, Dale’s Roofing decided to put more of an emphasis on safety.
“Our safety efforts now include weekly safety meetings, actively pointing out areas that need work, and making sure all workers are prepared for the job they’re going to,” said Sarah Vickers, Director of Human Resources at Dale’s Roofing.
In 2015, Dale’s Roofing put MEM’s residential roofing fall prevention checklist into place. The checklist allows workers to evaluate and prepare for the job site before the work is performed. Since its implementation, the company has not had a fall-related claim. Sarah also utilizes MEM’s Toolbox Talks when presenting different safety topics during safety meetings, which they host on Friday mornings.
Results to be Proud Of
In just six years, Dale’s Roofing has lowered their claims’ costs tremendously with greater education about safety procedures and practices. Increased roofing safety education helped them go from more than $200,000 in claims costs in 2011 to just $6,000 in 2017. Translating claims costs into real dollars helped employees understand how much a small, preventable mishap can really cost in claims and lost-time. That’s why Sarah continuously works to motivate injured workers to get back to their job as soon as possible.
“By being involved in the claim and how the injured worker is recovering, it’s important to provide light-duty options,” Sarah said. “When there is a light-duty option, they stay more involved and connected to the company, and they want to get back to work more quickly.”
The new techniques Dale’s Roofing has put in place have changed the business, making it a safer place to work. It is essential to always plan, provide the right equipment and train every employee to use proper equipment safely. Click here to learn more about OSHA’s fall prevention efforts, and check out MEM’s WorkSAFE Center for specific resources surrounding roofing safety.