Verify that the roof has the strength and integrity to hold all workers, materials, and equipment. Check weather conditions before a day’s work. Also, before each shift, inspect for mist, dew, or a light layer of ice. If unsafe conditions are found, do not allow employees on the roof.  

Ladder Safety
Use the appropriate ladder to gain access to the roof. Inspect the ladder before use each day. The top of the ladder should extend at least three feet above the roof and be secured to prevent movement. Bungee cords, or other flexible cords, may not be used to secure the ladder. The base should also be secured. Workers should wear appropriate footwear that will not cause them to slip. Only one person should use a ladder at a time. As a person uses a ladder, they must maintain three points of contact at all times. Do not carry products or tools up the ladder. Use a pulley system so three points of contact may be maintained. 

Fall Protection
An elevated warning line, six feet from the edge, should be visible at all times. Simply painting a line six feet from the edge is not sufficient. They must be flagged at no greater than six-foot intervals with high-visibility material. The stanchions or masts that hold the warning line must be able to stand on their own. The six-foot warning line is only to warn when they are close to the roof edge. Fall protection is required at all times while working more than six feet above ground.  

Fall Arrest System - Inspect all equipment to confirm it is in good condition. Look for frays in the harness, restraint belt, lanyard, etc. If equipment is defective, replace it immediately. Each employee should be suited with equipment that fits their body perfectly. The harness should not be worn loose and the D-ring should be placed between the shoulder blades. The lanyard should be clipped to an anchor that has been secured on the roof. Anchor points are to be provided at all times for fall protection. Limit the number of workers that can tie off at an anchor point. Most anchors are rated and made for one person. Do not exceed the limit for any reason. Anchors should be able to handle a 5,000-lb. force per employee attached. Fall arrest equipment may have expiration dates. Check manufacturer recommendations and replace equipment when needed.

The same standards apply to those delivering roofing material. Individuals who access the roof must also be tied off.

Guardrail Systems - The top rail must stand 42 inches high and the midrail must stand 21 inches high. It should be able to withstand 200 pounds of pressure in any direction. The centers should not be spaced more than eight feet apart. If cable wire is to be used, use a cable with the appropriate diameter to avoid cuts and lacerations.

Workers are not to sit, rest, walk on, or lean against skylights as they may easily give way and a worker may fall. Workers are to be protected from falling through a skylight by a fall arrest system, covers, or a guardrail system. If an employee has the potential of falling, holes are to be covered.  

Space may be limited, so keep roof clean and organized. Keep loads and tools organized to avoid trip hazards. Immediately clear all protruding nails.

The nail gun is one of the most important tools for a roofing job. Understand the various actions of the trigger. Use the gun to nail material away from the body. While a nail gun is in use, try to limit the number of employees walking nearby. Power down the equipment if a nail gun is unattended or not in use. If a nail jam occurs or a repair is needed, remove the compressed air hose. If nails are protruding after being discharged by the nail gun, remove them immediately. Do not keep finger on trigger of nail gun or override the safety switch on the gun. Many accidental firings have occurred due to this practice. Wear the appropriate PPE when using a nail gun. Wear the correct eye protection, hard hat, and steel-toe boots.   

Double-insulated tools are recommended to help protect against electrocution. Non-double-insulated tools should have the ground prong in place. All temporary power on a jobsite should be connected to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).    

Foot Protection
All workers should wear steel-toe boots with good tread in place. When working with nails, there is always a potential for puncture injuries.

Sun Exposure
Be proactive, especially in the summer heat. Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. Take breaks when needed. Even when working in overcast conditions, continue to protect yourself from sun exposure.   

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NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.