Historically, falls have been the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. To mitigate and minimize the risk of roof these injuries and falls, the US federal Department developed legally enforceable standards under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These statutory rules and regulations were meant to help create a better working environment for all individuals.
And while the standards are updated each year, the ultimate goal is to ensure that roofs remain a safe and secure place for workers and everyone else. The rules and regulations describe the methods and measures employees should take to protect any individual who sets their foot on the roof, whether it’s a contractor or employee.
Here are some OSHA safety roof regulations that everyone in the construction industry should be aware of.
Roofing work is not only challenging but dangerous. Unprotected roof edges, high roof elevations, and steep slopes pose a significant risk to construction workers. With that in mind, it’s understandable why OSHA recommends that all employees put safeguards to guarantee employee safety.
According to OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.23(c)(1), any open-sided floor that is 4 feet above adjacent floor or ground level should be guarded on all open sides. Section 1926.501 further requires that safety net systems, guardrail systems, or personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) be used to ensure that employees don’t fall when working on a roof that is 6 feet high or on a lower level.
Fall Protection Training And Retraining
Section 1926.503 (c) of the OSHA standards stipulates that all employees exposed to fall hazards should get the necessary protection training from their employers. Once the employers are confident that the employees are thoroughly trained, they should verify compliance by preparing a written certification record. Workers should be retrained if prior training has become obsolete due to changes to the fall protection equipment or alteration in work conditions.
Employees are also required to monitor the weather conditions and consider stopping roof construction if the current conditions make the roof unsafe. Some hazardous weather conditions that may warrant suspending roof construction include rain, wind, and snow, making roofs slippery. Extreme heat can also make workers suffer dehydration. When it’s freezing outside, workers can become clumsy due to numbed feet and hands. The OSHA regulations stipulate that employers should ensure that workers are only working when the weather is conducive.
Equipment Use And Maintenance
It is also a requirement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that employees adorn special equipment when working on roofs. There are several regulatory requirements for PFA components, including lanyards, connectors, anchorages, harnesses, and lifelines.
Additionally, OSHA requires that all machinery and tools used in roof construction be of premium quality. All devices need to be inspected before use, and if any machinery is found to be defective, it should be removed from the construction site immediately. PFA systems need to be used correctly; ladders tightly secured; skylights and other roof holes should be guarded and covered to reduce the risk of falls.
Location Of Roof Construction Material
OSHA stipulates that materials should be kept conveniently for workers involved in the roof work, such as those performing carpentry work. While carpentry roofing materials are usually near the roof, the other materials should be held not more than 6 feet from the edge of the roof. The materials should be perfectly positioned so that they don’t pose any risk to the employees.
While OSHA has not placed specific standards for work-related matters, employers must adhere to the general Occupational Safety and Health duty clause. It states that employers are responsible for providing an environment free from recognized hazards that can cause serious physical harm or even death.