Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs by Installing Roof Sheathing Safely

Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs by Installing Roof Sheathing Safely

By Marie King

Insurance savings and sheathing safety

Installing Roof Sheathing

The period throughout the installation of the roof sheathing is one of the most hazardous times during the construction of a roof because of uneven roof sheathing, wind gusts, and unstable roof structures. These hazards can lead to serious injuries even death. Those injuries create costs not only in dwindled manpower but also accelerated roofing insurance premiums in the form of workers’ compensation claims. To reduce these accidents and the accompanying costs to your contractors insurance, you need to implement a safety program for workers installing roof sheathing.

Training Program

Before installing sheathing, the employer should train workers in the potential falls that they face and how to minimize these risks. Knowing what to expect and how to react to dangers on the job, makes workers more alert and less likely to get hurt. Having roofers work in pairs also significantly reduces fall risk.


Identifying the hazards that your roofing team faces installing sheathing and preparing for these risks rank among the chief preventive measures to reduce accidents during the sheathing process.A major part of the preparation entails ordering the necessary safety equipment: Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS), anchors, scaffolding, ladders and safety net systems. You and your team should use these pieces of equipment according to manufacturer’s recommendations. You should also consider how you are going to stage materials.


Experts at OSHA state that the injury risks are greatly reduced if sheathing is applied to trusses when they are on the ground. If sheathing has to be installed at an elevated level, a number of safety precautions should be taken. Trusses should be properly braced to secure them. Prior to the first row of sheathing being in place, employers should consider using scaffolds, ladders or aerial lifts with unstable trusses.

Safety nets can be placed below unsheathed trusses to provide extra protection as long as the net is not in contact with surfaces or structures below. While handling material on the roof. the worker should place it on the side facing downward.This prevents the worker from being struck by the materials, which could cause an accident and workers compensation claim on your roofing insurance. Likewise, place slide guards on the edge of the roof to avoid objects hitting any non-workers that could generate general liability claims on your contractors insurance.

Fall Restraint Systems

Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) should only be used when the trusses have been secured or enough sheathing has been laid. A PFAS consists of a harness worn by the worker, a connector in the form of a lanyard or lifeline that connects to an anchor. OSHA prohibits the use of just body belts because they can cause serious injuries. Workers must wear full-body harnesses.

There are three types of anchors: peak anchors, permanent D-ring and spreaders. Peak anchors are used at the top of the roof and are solid, non-moving and attached to the trusses underneath. D-rings are inexpensive and secured to the truss frame. Engineered spreaders can be anchored to various points on the roofing system.

Insurance Savings and Sheathing Safety

By providing your roofers with a safe environment during the sheathing process, you can dramatically reduce injuries and save money on your roofing insurance from workers compensation claims.