Commercial vs. Residential Roofing | OSHA Rules, Hazards, Fall Arrest, Safety, Fall Protection

November 9, 2019 posted by

Dustin: We’ll break again into commercial
versus something residential. Commercial roofing, we see fall protection
systems being used quite a bit, whether it’s guardrail systems that go around the outside
of the outside of the structure so that we’re
protecting everybody on the inside without having to put up active fall arrest equipment. We also see roofers more and more often working
with building owners to put permanently in place anchor points and maybe permanently
installed horizontal lifelines so that protects, not only the workers while they’re doing the
roofing, but we have fall protection for maintenance or other activities that would be happening
once the roofing is done. We see counterweighted anchors that are brought
up to the roof, there’s also mobile anchors that I’ve seen that can go on the roof and
provide anchor points for traditional fall arrest systems. I’ve seen a lot of fall restraint systems
being used in commercial, low sloped roofing as well. There’s a lot of different things that I see
our commercial low slope roofers using, and a lot of people are doing that fairly
fairly well. When it comes to the residential side of roofing,
is where there’s a lot of work that can still be
done and a lot of methods that can still be looked at. The perception I think in a lot of the residential
roofing is, I’m only going to be here for a couple days, the systems that I would be
putting in place are going to slow me down, or actually increase the hazard to my workers,
rather than decrease the hazard. I also hear a lot from residential roofing
that, if I invest in the right methods and in the right solutions for
my workers, now I have to charge more; and the people who are trying to get by, and that
aren’t going to implement these same levels of protection are going to make it so that
I can’t compete in the marketplace. They’re either going to drive the price down
to where I can’t get jobs, or they’re going to cut into my profit margins so that I can’t
stay in business. The truth is that in residential roofing,
we have to do a much better job across the board. We have to make sure that that industry is
aware and educated about what the hazards are and what the solutions are. They have to know that there are solutions
that can go on the roof that are temporary, that aren’t going to penetrate the outside
of the roof or cause a risk for water intrusion later on. There are very temporary, disposable anchors
that they can use on top of the roof. So, when they’re finishing, and they’re putting
the ridge cap on at the end, they pound the anchors down and a ridge cap right over the
top of them. Nobody knows they were ever in place, but
as soon as there was any sheathing on top of that roof, they could have anchors that
were put in place. There are systems that can go up on the ridge
of a roof that hold more than one worker. You can have systems that can hold up to four
workers off of one certified anchor point, or engineered style anchor point. There are also horizontal lifelines that can
be temporarily installed on a roof that allow workers to move back and forth across the
roof, connect more than one worker, up to two workers, and use the ropes and rope grabs
up and down as they’re going from the eaves up to the peak doing that roofing. It provides a lot of mobility; they can set
up a fall restraint system very easily that way. If the companies that are involved in this
residential roofing really take a look at what the roof is, how it�s laid out, and
plan for their fall arrests so that they don’t have swing falls off the gable ends. There are ways to set these systems up so
that maybe we’re working in more restraint than we are in fall arrest. Could it take longer to do the job than it
would without having any protection? Probably so. Is it going to mean educating themselves and
their workers to the hazards and how to properly set their systems up? Absolutely. But, it is definitely the right thing to do,
because when we look at the injuries, and the falls, and the fatalities from falls from
heights that people are falling from are right around that eve and ridge height on single
level residential homes. Which leads me to believe that we see a lot
more falls off of the residential sector, and a lot more injuries than we are really
in the commercial side of things, where it’s being policed a little bit more, where we
have more safety professionals that are working in that area. In the residential side, we probably don’t
have the same level of safety professional, in many cases, helping them, and educating
them to the hazards and how to do things correctly.

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