There are several things all commercial roofers should know in order to maintain a safe working environment. Simple things like setting up your ladder properly as well as fire prevention and proper safety gear are all factors in an accident free work site. Let’s go over a few of them.
I attended a class on ladder safety offered by the fire academy and our instructor told us to remember one word when setting up a ladder “SALT” (Surface, angle, length, and tie off).
- Surface: you should find a level non-slip surface to set your ladder.
- Angle: the proper angle of your ladder is easy to find, place your toes against each side of the ladder and reach forward until your arms are level. When your arms are level and you can hold onto the rung step directly in front of you that is your proper angle.
- Length: check the length or height of your ladder; it should extend three feet past the roof line so that you have something to hold onto when getting on and off the ladder.
- Tie off: This is probably the most important; you should always tie your ladder off securely to prevent it from slipping to either side. Nobody wants to be stuck on a roof on a windy day because the ladder fell over.
It doesn’t take much to keep your ladder from slipping, I usually tie mine to a gutter hanger or if there are no gutters, you can just use a roofing plate and screw to fasten your rope to the edge of the roof.
Now that you are on the roof, let’s make sure you stay there. You need to set up a safety line around the roof unless there is a wall over 39 inches around it. We do this by setting up “stantions” and “warning lines” through them. The stantion is the orange cones you set up around the roof. You should set your stantions back at least 6 ft. from the edge of the roof and no further than 25 ft. apart. Now tie your warning lines or flag lines to the first one and run it through all your stantions, then tie it off to the last one. Your flag line has to have a tinsel strength of at least 500 lbs. remember anytime you are working outside your safety line you should wear an Osha approved safety harness and be properly tied off.
One thing many roofers overlook is the fire safety. Hopefully it never becomes an issue, but with all our heat welders, generators and power tools, it is better to be safe than sorry. Do not forget to have the proper fire extinguisher on your job site clearly marked and easy to get to. It would be a really good idea for everyone on your job to take a class on how to properly use an extinguisher.
The last thing I would like to bring up is a clean job site, you should always try to keep your job site free of trash and do not leave tools lying around everywhere. Besides the fact that a messy job site is a safety hazard that can cause injuries, it does not look professional and we should always be professional on the work site as much as possible. Happy safe roofing!