Every aspect of construction work poses safety hazards for workers in Kansas and elsewhere. The list of risks you face as you go about your job on a construction site is endless. Safety authorities maintain that falls pose the most significant hazard, with roof work one of the most dangerous sections.
If you are a roofer, you will face the usual risks associated with working at heights along with other job-specific hazards. These include power tools, ladders, extreme temperatures, hazardous substances, noise and more. If your employer does not prioritize employee safety, it might be up to you to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury, illness and even death.
Common roof work hazards
You might avoid hospital time and lost workdays if you look out for the following roof work hazards:
- Stability: Assess the stability of the roof before doing any work. Will hot weather compromise the roof bow, are the trusses secure and undamaged, and will the roof bear the weight of multiple workers?
- Ladder placement: Before you can assess the stability of the roof, you must get onto it safely. Make sure the ladder placement is at the right angle and securely tied to at the top.
- Adequate training: Even a single inadequately trained worker can jeopardize the safety of all his or her co-workers on the roof.
- Split level roofs: Consider the various heights of split level roofs when it comes to fall protection. Base the need for fall protection on the higher levels.
- Pitch: Steep roof angles pose the most significant fall risks. Do not work on pitched roofs without an adequately secured fall harness and shingle bundles.
- Weather hazards: High winds, snow and ice increase the risks. Take particular care if the shingles are wet, and avoid working on membrane roofs in such conditions.
- Edge awareness: Avoid being so focused on the roof work that you forget to keep an eye on the roof's edge.
- Holes and openings: Make sure to mark and guard all roof openings. A fall through a skylight can be as deadly as falling over the edge of the roof.
- Line of sight: Keep in mind that shingle bundles, chimneys and ridge vents could block your line of sight and put you at risk.
- Fall protection: Never work on a roof without fall protection.
While these are common hazards you will face, many others exist, and some of the known dangers deserve more attention. You can protect yourself even more by making sure you know how to calculate the proper angle for the safe placement of a ladder, how to determine the length of the lanyard of your fall harness to ensure the arrest of a fall and the importance of barricading roof openings.
Unanticipated circumstances can cause workplace accidents, regardless of the precautions you take. You might find comfort in knowing that the Kansas workers' compensation system will have your back. An attorney who has experience in helping injured workers to get the applicable benefits can navigate the claims process on your behalf while you focus on recovering and returning to work. Your medical expenses will be covered, and a portion of your lost wages will form a part of the compensation.