ROOFING CONTRACTOR SAFETY TIPS FOR THE WINTER
During winter, there are few professions more dangerous than being a roofing contractor. With limited daylight hours, slippery surfaces, cold temperatures, and snow-covered roofs, workers are encountering severe dangers. Winter weather requires a lot more planning and safety precautions than during warmer weather.
Clothing: Educate your workers on the importance of dressing for the weather and the risks of hypothermia and frostbite. Roofers are most vulnerable to frostbite on their ears, nose, fingers, and toes. Make sure your employees bring a change of clothing and have blankets in their vehicles.
Driving: Don’t forget to consider work-related winter travel hazards. Put in place a winter driving safety protocol that includes inspections, stocking vehicles with winter items, a vehicle safety checklist, and defensive driving techniques.
Materials: When it is cold outside, materials can get fragile and might not adhere as well as usual. Keep all materials in a warm area before installation and install the roof in sections. Educate your employees on the proper use of all materials and equipment, especially the extra steps required during the winter.
Fall Risks: Fall risks on a roof are higher when visibility is limited. Make sure rooftops are snow-free before workers work on them. The workers doing the initial snow removal should be extremely familiar with the layout. To help reduce slips, employees should wear boots with extra traction. Make sure your workers are following winter fall safety procedures.
Roof Load: Snow on roofs and snowdrifts can lead to roof and building collapses. OSHA recommends employers perform numerous safety checks before allowing workers on any roof. Always calculate the total weight of workers, snow, and equipment a roof can hold without risk before any workers go on a roof.