Dangers Facing Roofing Contractors

Dangers Facing Roofing Contractors

by Marie King

Dangers facing roofing contractors


Roofing contractors have one of the most dangerous jobs in the USA. These workers’ occupation ranks nationally sixth for hazardous employment. Furthermore, one-third of the injuries in the construction industry happens to roofing contractors, even though roofers comprise significantly less than one-third of the workers in the construction industry.


Roofing contractors use scaffolding routinely. Statistics published by OSHA state:
“About 2.3 million construction workers frequently work on scaffolds. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related injuries would prevent an estimated 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths.”

That’s the reason, safety precautions must be in place and followed. OSHA suggests four solutions to help with scaffold safety:

  • Consider using aerial lifts or elevated platforms to provide safer elevated working surfaces.
  • Erect guardrail systems with toeboards and warning lines or install control line systems to protect workers near edges of roofs.
  • Cover roof holes.
  • Use safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems (body harnesses).


Ladders are commonly used by roofing contractors. There are precautions that must take place to prevent accidents. The right type of ladder for the job needs to be selected. Ladders must be long enough to reach the roof and offer a safe exit from it for the worker. Any stickers. paint or grease needs to be removed. If a ladder is splintering, it should be taken out of use. Most importantly ladders need to be inspected regularly to detect any defects in them, such as loose or missing rungs.


Roofing contractors encounter electrical hazards less often than accidents due to ladders, scaffolding or just plain falls. However, electricity can create serious injuries. These injuries can happen when a ladder or scaffold is placed too near power lines. The rule is that ladders and scaffolding must be placed no closer than ten feet away from power lines.

Protective Gear

It is commonplace for roofing contractors to wear body harnesses to prevent falls. However, there are other pieces of equipment that roofing contractors should consider wearing: safety glasses, metal toed boots, gloves and hard hats:

  • Safety Glasses – Safety glasses are used to protect the eyes from any foreign object entering them. OHSA cites two situations relevant to roofing contractors that could call for the use of safety glasses.These two situations could arise when roofing contractors are nailing or cutting materials.
  • Boots – Roofing contractors should wear boots with metal toes and with slip resistant and puncture resistant soles. The proper footware can save a worker from getting injured or in some cases falling off a roof.
  • Hard Hats – It’s imperative that roofing contractors wear hard hats. Roofing contractors could likely get injured by a struck by an object accident, which could happen if a worker was on a lower elevation than his fellow workers. Hard hats should be inspected regularly for dents and other defects.
  • Gloves – Gloves should fit roofing contractors snugly. The gloves should be a type that suits roofing work, and protect the workers from mishaps that happen in the roofing industry.