Your roof is a landmine of potential hazards. Ladders, perimeter walls, decking, skylights, and physical exposure to the natural elements can put workers at risk for slips and falls. Your general duty clause extends to your roof so make sure you take the right
precautions. Commonsense practices such as limiting who
can access the roof, requiring training for those who do,
and providing safety equipment will help to keep facilities
staff and outside contractors from harm.
Roofing Hazardous Overview
Roofs aren’t designed for constant foot traffic yet inspections and repairs require workers to tread lightly across
membranes and metal panels. Many roof accidents involve
trips or falls from heights that result in hundreds of deaths
annually and scores of other non-fatal injuries.
Consider the many risks workers are exposed to while
on the roof:
BEST PRACTICES for
Eliminate the risk of injuries with protection devices,
ongoing training, and access policies
■ Ladders – If your building doesn’t have interior stairs
and a doorway to the roof, workers must use caution
when using ladders. These can become unstable if they
aren’t properly secured or tied off to the building, notes
Brian Impellizeri, senior product manager with GAF, a
■ Exterior Egress – Beyond ladders, staff should exercise situation awareness when accessing the roof via
hatches, elevators, penthouse doors, scaffolding, or
power equipment such as scissor lifts and aerial work
platforms, says Brad Richardson, a certified safety
professional and director of environmental health and
safety for D.C. Taylor Company, a roofing contractor.
■ Skylights – While great for natural light, these fixtures
can give way if too much weight is put on them. A worker
may accidentally step on them or trip on the edges.
■ Parapet Walls – Buildings that have no barrier on the
roof ledge pose an immediate risk and others may have
walls that are too short to prevent someone from tumbling over.
■ Loose Debris – Tree branches, leaves, construction
ROOF SAFETY is a must for any building owner. Unprotected edges,
heights, tripping hazards, and extreme heat can put workers at risk
for accidents. The right protection devices and policies will ensure
that employees can perform work in a secure environment.