Safety is a fundamental quality work process and workforce behavior for any successful organization. Duro-Last itself has a corporate safety philosophy that emphasizes “fall prevention” as opposed to “fall protection.” This not only improves the safety of our employees but results in a higher quality installation and often reduces time on a customer’s roof.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was created in 1971 after President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of work fatalities in the construction industry. Recently, federal and state OSHA programs across the country have targeted rooftop work as a special emphasis due to the increased fatality and injury rate from rooftops and ladders. Penalties for violations range from $0 to $70,000 each, depending how likely the violation is to result in serious harm to employees.
OSHA provides both employers and employees with the education needed to create a fall prevention plan. OSHA has created an information booklet titled Fall Protection in Construction that provides a generic overview of particular standards-related topics regarding fall protection.
Regarding low-sloped roofs specifically, each employee shall be protected from falling by:
- Guardrail systems
- Safety net systems
- Personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of a warning line system and guardrail system
- Warning line system and safety net system
- Warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or
- Warning line system and safety monitoring system
OSHA offers another publication titled Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines to assist employers and employees in developing effective safety and health programs. This guideline identifies four general elements that are critical in developing a successful safety and health management program:
- Management commitment and employee involvement
- Worksite analysis
- Hazard prevention and control
- Safety and health training
OSHA also offers a free and confidential onsite consultation which includes an appraisal of all mechanical systems, physical work practices, and environmental hazards of the workplace and all aspects of the employer’s present job safety and health program.