How Safe is the Roofing Crew?
The contract is signed. Pre-construction meetings are a wrap. And now it’s time for the crew to arrive. If you’re worried about their safety, stop. Working in a high-risk environment means loads of regulations. Today’s roofing crews get more training, wear better personal protective equipment, and have more fall protection equipment than ever. Still not convinced? Read on.
How are they trained to prevent falls?
Any contractor must supply, train, and use adequate fall protection systems when their workers are exposed to falls of six feet or more. Crew members must be trained as authorized users of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) and each supervisor should be certified as a competent person in PFAS to ensure that fall protection is used correctly.
When the roofing crew arrives at the jobsite, it’s time to put the training to the test. Site specific dangers will be noted in the job hazard analysis. A fall protection plan has been drafted to prescribe countermeasures with the aim to prevent falls and other types of potential injuries. A rescue plan (in case a fall does occur) should have also been created and communicated. Before the crew starts work on day one:
- There must be a review of the fall protection plan.
- The job hazard analysis should be updated with any other hazards that have been identified.
- Crew members should verify their understanding of plans and document this with a signature.
- A project or safety manager should verify the safety set up and job hazard analysis.
- The crew should stretch to warm up muscles to prevent injury before starting the day’s work.
What other training do they receive?
Beyond authorized user or competent person PFAS, most roofing crews are trained on common hazards associated with a roofing construction job and high-risk processes like deck replacement. CPR, first aid, and bloodborne pathogens, as well as ergonomics and the proper use and requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) are other necessary trainings. Vigilant roofing contractors train continually as policies, procedures, and regulations change.
Aren’t new employees dangerous?
As soon as a new roofing crew member is hired, they’ll complete OSHA 10-hour training, which is aimed at teaching workplace safety and reducing jobsite hazards. The course includes an introduction to OSHA, and education on PPE and life-saving equipment as well as health hazards in construction (e.g. fall protection, electrical, struck by, caught in between). It includes a minimum of two hours of electives such as material handling, tools (hand and power), scaffolds, cranes, excavations, and stairways and ladders. OSHA 10-hour training complements authorized user PFAS training.
The new hire is considered and identified as a short service employee until he/she has met all the minimum training requirements mandated by OSHA and required by the roofing contractor.
How do I REALLY know the crew has been trained?
Ask! The roofing contractor should have no qualms about providing certifications for training (both general and specific tasks required for your job). This can be supplied prior to the job start upon request.