Replacing a roof can be dangerous work, but with the appropriate protection measures in place, the risk of life-threatening falls can be significantly reduced. As a result, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has set strict laws for safety that roofing companies must adhere to.
Risks of Roof Replacement
According to the OSHA Fact Sheet, “more than one-third of fall deaths in residential construction are caused by falls from roofs.” Whether demolishing an old roof or installing new asphalt shingles, even the most experienced roofers, like North Florida Roofing in Jacksonville, FL, are exposed to unpredictable hazards caused by loose materials, slick surfaces, or sudden gusts of wind. With the risk of permanent injury or death from falls, having appropriate fall protection measures in place is vital to saving lives.
Safety and Health Regulations for Construction
According to OSHA standard number 1926.501, it is required for roofing employers to provide fall protection systems that comply with the criteria set forth in standard 1926.502, which includes guard rails, safety net and personal fall arrest systems, positioning device systems, warning line systems, controlled access zones, safety monitoring systems and covers.
For example, OSHA Roofing Standard 1926.501(b)(13) states:
“Residential construction. Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure. Exception: When the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the employer shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of paragraph (k) of 1926.502.”
In addition, employers must provide a training program for each worker who might be exposed to hazards.
Jacksonville, Florida Building Code Compliance
The Building Inspection Division in Duval County is responsible for ensuring that roofing contractors comply with the Florida Building Codes and Jacksonville’s building ordinances. The codes and ordinances require that OSHA regulations are followed and allows local authorities to enforce the laws/ codes.
Effects on Roofing Companies
The ever tightening laws around roofing safety have significantly increased the cost of doing business. The safety systems and training required make an expensive barrier to entry for new roofing businesses. In addition, the fines imposed by OSHA for violations are so steep that they can literally bankrupt even well established roofers. As a result, many reputable companies like North Florida Roofing have implemented their own roofing safety standards that go above and beyond OSHA requirements.