According to Business Insider, and for obvious reasons, one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America is working in the construction industry – which includes roofers and solar installer. Working with heavy equipment, power or hand tools, and debris, construction workers often find themselves working at elevations most of us would never feel comfortable with.
Add to that hazardous weather and inadequate safety measures and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.
Steering clear of hazards in the first place could, quite literally, mean the difference between life an death, and since this is the industry we’re in, nothing could be more important than sharing this information. Running the risk of telling you what you already know is perfectly fine with me, because keeping these hazards top of mind is always a smart idea.
Below are the top 4 hazards in the industry (known as “the fatal four”), and how to avoid them.
- AVOID FALLS
I’ve written about this topic before, and what you may think goes without saying, is often sadly ignored. In 2015, falls were responsible for close to 40% of construction related deaths. That’s pretty significant. The use of fall protection is not only a smart idea, it’s also required by OSHA. The very best way to avoid falls in the first place is to use personal fall arrest systems, which will ensure that if you do fall, you’ll be protected. Other ways to avoid falls on the job include safe and proper use of scaffolding and ladders, securing and covering any openings on floors, and the installation of perimeter protection (think guard rails).
- AVOID ELECTROCUTIONS
In 2014, death by electric shock was the second highest reason for construction fatalities. There are a number of ways electrocution can be avoided including the top priority – locating any utilities in the area prior to starting the job. Being alert at all times is also right up there on the list, as well as making sure ground fault circuit interrupters are utilized, and always practicing safe distance requirements whenever you find yourself near any form of power line.
- AVOID BEING STRUCK BY OBJECTS
This may sound like a no-brainer, but almost 10% of all construction related deaths in 2014 were caused by being struck by objects – whether those object were falling, flying, swinging or rolling. There are 2 very important safety factors to adhere to when on the job to avoid being struck: Wear clothing that is high visibility anytime you’re near construction vehicles or equipment (I would say this is 100% of the time on a job site), and being sure to never find yourself in a position where you’re between objects (moving or stationary).
- AVOID BEING “CAUGHT IN”
On many construction sites, an excavation of some sort or another is often happening simultaneously to the construction itself. To keep yourself from ever being caught in, or trapped in, a deadly situation, you should steer clear of entering trenches over 5 foot deep, unless the trench is shored up by the use of an adequate protection system. While 5 feet is the golden rule, in some circumstances, specials protection systems may need to be used even in trenches shallower than 5 feet. Adequate protection systems are dependent on the site and the scope of work, and include shoring, benching or sloping the walls of the trench, and employing the use of a trench shield system.
Do you have safety tips to share? Let us know what they are – the more we know, the safer we will all be. For that same reason, make sure to SHARE this post!
I hope you all have a happy (and SAFE) Thanksgiving!
EcoFasten Solar and Alpine SnowGuards specialize in the design, engineer and manufacture of watertight solar roof mounts and components, as well as snow management systems. We work closely with leading roofing contractors, engineering firms, solar developers, installers, racking system providers and roofing manufacturers to ensure we deliver quality products that do what we say they’ll do. All of our products are made with the installer and roofing contractor in mind.
(Images from OSHA)