Commercial property owners must pay close attention to their roof condition because unsound roofs pose serious hazards to workers who access the roof to perform periodic inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Routine roof maintenance not only ensures improved safety but also protects the property owner against costly and complicated liability issues.
Property owners can follow these 6 safety measures to stay protected against the risks that unsafe roofs invite:
- Monitor and Control Access
The property owner must ensure that every worker who will access the roof for repair and maintenance is qualified, trained and competent enough to identify existing and potential hazards so that corrective action can be taken in time and any hazards or unsanitary conditions can be immediately eliminated. Strict rules should be enforced by the contractor to ensure complete control over roof access at all times. This would need the implementation of a sound permitting process that outlines everything from check-ins to returns and everything in between.
- Schedule Periodic Inspections for Safety Checks
Regular inspections often uncover safety and integrity issues that pose serious risks to the safety of workers and also invite expensive repairs if not addressed in time. This is why property owners must ensure that risky roofs are regularly assessed for:
- Possible damage caused by adverse weather conditions like storms, snowfall, extreme heat and heavy rainfall.
- Slip and fall hazards that may be caused by windblown objects, rain, snow, pebbles, debris and stray tools.
- Poorly maintained electrical cables and electrical conduits that are exposed to toxic substances like lead and asbestos.
- Vulnerable surfaces that are deteriorated and may not withstand additional load.
Inspections facilitate the identification and remediation of existing trouble-spots and impending problems before they become a costly legal issues or a life-threatening incident. Regular inspections are also essential to ensuring quality repairs, timely replacements and safe installations.
- Ensure Safe Installation of Electrical Cable and Electrical Conduits
Roofing decks and systems often have electrical cables and electrical conduits installed within them. The nails, screws and components fitted in roofing systems are subject to deterioration and damage during repairs and replacements and they can easily penetrate electrical conduits and cables, resulting in electric shocks and increasing the risk of fire hazards. This is why it is important to ensure that no technician causes any damage to electric cables or conduits during an inspection, installation or maintenance. All safe practices working practices must be strictly adhered to when electrical cables and conduits are being altered, relocated, or restored to safe operating condition.
- Implement Policies and Procedures to Control Risks
Every property owner needs to ensure strict compliance to internal policies and procedures that are stipulated by the OSHA. From providing fall protection training and wearing personal protective equipment to taking corrective measures and eliminating unsanitary conditions, a culture of safety needs to be created and engrained at all the levels.
- Assess Ladder Safety to Eliminate the Risks of Accidental Falls
It is important to ensure that any ladders being used for inspections and maintenance purpose are placed on a sturdy, level surface and securely fastened to the ground. For additional safety, workers can also use ladder stabilizers. If you are still unsure of ladder safety, always have a worker to hold the ladder in place. If the ground is uneven or the ladder is placed on grass, dig deep holes for firm placement in the ground or level the surface before the ladder can be placed.
- Have a Buddy System in Place to Make it Even Safe
Never let a worker access the roof alone – it’s as simple as that. If a worker is on the roof alone and if anything goes wrong, it is least likely that someone will figure out the fact that there is a problem and be there on time. So, it is always safe when people work in pairs. A buddy system ensures that even if something goes wrong, there is always one person who can call for help. Also, an extra pair of eyes may just notice something unsafe that the other technician may have missed.
Even with all these precautionary measures, workplace accidents can still take place and so it is important to have a contingency plan in place. Training on best safety practices for corporate roof safety will not only ensure a safe work environment but also extend the service life of roofing systems and avert liability issues down the line while saving big on extensive repairs and replacements.
Jeson Pitt works with the marketing department of D&F Liquidators and regularly writes to share his knowledge while enlightening people about electrical products and solving their electrical dilemmas. He’s got the industry insights that you can count on along with years of experience in the field. Jeson lives in Hayward, CA and loves to explore different cuisines that the food trucks in the Bay area have to offer.