If you’ve ever been shocked when an OSHA inspector arrives unannounced to inspect your rooftop fall protection methods, you’re not alone. These random checks surprise many companies. Safety officers fear the inspector will discover issues that violate OSHA's stringent requirements. Managers wonder if the investigator will shut down their operations for job-related hazards. Chief executive officers worry their companies will pay a fine if their roofs fail inspection. It’s no fun for anyone.
As a safety manager or CEO, you likely focus the majority of your roof fall protection efforts on reducing fall risks around the edges of a roof. However, there are other rooftop fall risks that warrant attention. Failure to devote attention to these risks can leave employees and visitors at heightened risk for injury. Below is a glimpse of some commonly overlooked rooftop fall hazards and how guardrails can help you keep employees safe and avoid costly OSHA fines.
Your workplace may not be as safe as you think, especially if certain common safety myths have infiltrated your work environment.
Even if you believe your workplace is extremely safety conscious, the truth is that we're all vulnerable to accepting incorrect or outdated information as being accurate. Often, we subconsciously consider change to be risky, and not worth the time or effort to implement. But that could mean you aren't considering a safety railing or other fall protection systems simply because they’re new and you've never done it that way before.
Safety needs to be the number one priority of every supervisor and employee involved in a rooftop project. While it's not always possible to eliminate every potential hazard, it is crucial that they are identified and that the proper roof fall protection tools are put in place. So what’s the right tool for the job? We break down the six most critical areas you need to keep an eye on, and how to address each hazard.
Education doesn’t just happen inside of a school building. The roof is a great place to teach kids about solar energy or rooftop gardening. However, with rooftop access comes a need for rooftop safety. In addition to students, maintenance and repair technicians are also likely accessing the roof. Skylights, refrigeration and air conditioning units and general rooftop maintenance can mean frequent rooftop visitors. As a building owner or manager, it is your responsibility to ensure anyone who accesses your roof, can do so in a safe and secure manner. It’s not only a good idea, it’s required by OSHA. Let’s take a look at some of the requirements and how you can get your rooftop fall protection into compliance.
The Cal-OSHA code, written to protect workers in the state of California, is notoriously more stringent than federal OSHA regulations for guardrail protection and roof fall protection systems. If you've been managing or paying attention to workplace safety issues, you likely know that California regulators have set higher standards, but you may not know where they exceed the federal OSHA guardrail code. Even if you're not located in the Golden State, it can be beneficial to understand the additional safety measures that a product adhering to both Cal-OSHA and federal OSHA guardrail regulations can carry.
Most people look forward to the longer, sunnier days of summer. But when it comes to working outside, especially on industrial rooftops, summer can pose a big threat. Heat, high humidity levels, and intense sunlight can not only damage your facility’s roof, they can also have a serious impact on employees working on the rooftop during summer months. Heat-related illnesses and accidents are a major concern.
Educating employees on heat safety, providing mandatory cool-down breaks, and implementing rooftop fall protection systems like safety rails are just a few of the ways to alleviate these potential problems. Before you expose your employees to the summer extremes, learn more about the damage the sun can do, and what you can do about it.
Roof holes pose a constant threat to the safety of rooftop workers. Failure to install the proper fall protection systems can lead to employee injury and may result in serious citations and fines issued by OSHA. By taking the proper precautions, you can create a safe rooftop working environment for your employees. Below is a look at the incidence of roof holes and the most effective steps you can take to prevent employees from falling into them.
OSHA safety standards, especially for roof fall protection, can be a source of confusion for many industrial companies. Two OSHA standards can apply – 29 CFR 1910, which governs “general industry” safety standards and 29 CFR 1926, which governs construction sites specifically. The OSHA general industry standards exclude construction (as well as agriculture and marine industries, which also have their own standards), but both standards can sometimes apply to the same worksite at different times. Determining which one you should adhere to can be a challenge.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free industrial rooftop. Summer may seem like a time when minimal maintenance is needed, but think again. Even the most durable roofs require periodic inspections and maintenance to foster their longevity and ensure their safety for employees and visitors. Let’s take a closer look at the key reasons to perform industrial rooftop maintenance during the summer months – and review the necessity for roof fall protection systems to protect your employees from falls and other injuries during rooftop inspections.