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Don't be left high and dry by a roofing injury

Roof workers in California often put their lives on the line, regardless of whether they work on the roof of a single- or multi-story building. However, employers can anticipate most of the hazards their employees have to face, and proper planning can eliminate known safety threats. Compliance with federal safety regulations may keep you safe.

A proper risk assessment before commencing with a roof project will determine the pitch of the roof and the heights of the different levels to ensure you use the required lengths of lanyards. It will allow construction company owners to identify the requirements for guard rails to put around roof edges and roof openings. Furthermore, no roofer must be without fall protection and a comprehensive knowledge of how to use the equipment.

Known safety hazards

Every person who forms part of a roofing project is responsible for the safety aspects of it, including the company owner, the on-site supervisors and the employees. Even one untrained person on a roof can jeopardize the safety of all. Known hazards for which you might want to be aware include the following:

  • Roof stability -- The roof must be strong enough to carry the load that includes all the workers and the material they will use.
  • Weather -- High winds, snow, ice or any circumstances that leave rooftops slippery can be deadly hazards for roofers.
  • Line of sight-- Bundles of shingles, chimneys, ridge vents and several other items can prevent you from seeing dangers such as skylights, hatches or other roof openings. Make sure such opening are clearly visible by using guardrails around them. Falling through obscured skylights has led to many fatalities of workers without fall protection.
  • Edge awareness-- Guard rails on the edge of the roof will protect you if you unintentionally move too close to it.
  • Ladder safety-- It is not only the condition of a ladder that is important but also its placement. Your ladder must stand securely at the correct angle, and the manner in which you secure the ladder at the top could save or threaten your life. Carrying a load on your shoulders when climbing a ladder can shift your center of gravity, which may cause the ladder to tip over backward.
  • Fall protection-- Having fall protection is not enough. You must anchor it securely and make sure the length of the lanyard is correct for your height and the height of the roof. The total length of the fully extended lanyard must be shorter than these two heights combined.

Sometimes, even the best-prepared rooftop may pose an unanticipated hazard. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a serious injury while working on a roof, you can pursue financial assistance to help you cope with medical expenses and lost wages. Such support is available through the California workers' compensation insurance benefits program, and a disabling injury might earn you additional benefits.

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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