Your crews' equipment needs change on a daily basis, but safety is one of those roofing tools that has to be a constant. Roofing is hard, honest work, but it can also be dangerous if your people don't take the right precautions. And you know better than we do how grave the consequences of an accident can be, so you'll want to do everything you can to prevent them.
It goes without saying that you care about the well-being of your people. It also goes without saying you'd be heartbroken if one of them got seriously injured. But even a so-called 'minor mishap' can have difficult consequences as well, some of which prove very costly. Fortunately, most of these mishaps can be avoided. These 5 precautions will help protect your crew and prevent them from making costly mistakes.
1. Crew Safety Meetings
Meetings that center on specific safety issues are a great way to protect your people from harm. These meetings should be distinct from the time you spend talking about the materials, roofing tools, and other details involved with any particular job. Set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to address the safety challenges that your crew might encounter and you'll reduce the chances of a mishap significantly.
You should hold safety-centered meetings frequently no matter what kind of jobs you're currently doing, but they're especially important if it's something new or unfamiliar. Consistency is the key, so make these meetings a priority regardless of circumstances for optimum results.
2. Treat Each Job As Something Unique
Work sites become danger zones when workers are inattentive to differences between various jobs. To offset this, make sure your crews understand the unique challenges inherent to every job. Map out possible hazards in advance and compile a list of appropriate preventative measures. Then, make sure that your crew implements these procedures consistently.
3. Maintain and Organize Your Roofing Tools
Many accidents are caused by faulty equipment, so roofing tools and machinery must be kept in perfect working order for optimal levels of safety. Even something as seemingly harmless as a dull shovel point can distract a worker enough to lead to an accident. That's why you should insist that your crews test their tools every day before they use them. Regular inspections of major equipment are also helpful in this regard.
Good organization is also conducive to worker safety. This means knowing where everything is at all times and having the right tools close at hand. At the very least, the proper organization of tools will keep workers from unnecessarily climbing up and down a ladder all day.
4. Emphasize the Importance of a Clean Work Area
Most workers know that a clean job site is a safe job site, but it's also something they often forget. This is especially true when they're up against impatient clients or deadlines. That's why you have to emphasize the importance of a clean work area frequently.
A 'clean as you go' approach is usually the best practice. Make sure your workers stop to clean up frequently, paying special attention to keeping walkways clear of debris and storing tools safely when they're not needed.
5. Allow Time for Regular Breaks
Tired workers tend to lose focus and are more likely to cause accidents, so make sure your people can take regular breaks throughout the day. The frequency and length of these breaks depend on the circumstances, but factor adequate break times into your initial estimates and insist that everyone take them.
Just like most of these safety precautions, you can think of regular break times as a 'front-loaded' insurance policy to protect you against tragic or expensive disasters.