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Snow Removal and Collapsing Roofs

Snow Removal and Collapsing Roofs

by Marie King

The importance of roofing insurance for snow removal and collapsing roof

Roofing Insurance

Winter is the most dangerous time of year in the roofing industry, primarily due to collapsing roofs. Your roofing insurance provides you with an affordable strategy to help you take care of your injured roofers through workers’ compensation. However, roofing insurance cannot reduce the risks your workers face-only you can.

Risks

According to the Department of Labor, “every year, workers are killed or seriously injured while performing snow or ice removal from rooftops and other building structures, such as decks. OSHA has investigated 16 such serious injuries or fatalities in the past 10 years-all of which could have been prevented.” As your roofing insurance company, we want to help you prevent accidents on the job. We know by increasing accident prevention that you not only assist your workers, but it will also lower premiums to a more affordable price.

Prevention Methods

As your roofing insurance company, we want you to be very conscious of the danger areas on a snowy roof. Accidents happen. But taking measures to prevent them, reducing their occurrence makes for a safer and more affordable alternative. What OSHA has found is the following:

“Working on a roof with snow, ice, or wind carries a risk of a fall onto the roof, or a fall off the roof to the ground below or through a snow-covered skylight, all of which are often fatal.”

Therefore, employers should protect their workers from these hazardous work conditions by:

  • Using snow removal methods that do not involve workers going on roofs, when and where possible.
  • Evaluating loads exerted on roof or structure (e.g., total weight of snow, workers and equipment used), compared to the load limit of the roofs.
  • Requiring that workers use fall protection equipment.
  • Ensuring that workers use ladders and aerial lifts safely.

Snow Removal

Snow removal is a crucial part of making your roofing environment safe. Your roofing insurance company encourages you to use methods that don’t involve workers going on the roof. This can be accomplished by using roof rakes or ladders to do de-icing.

Evaluating Loads

Most roofs hold a load of about twenty pounds per square foot. Your roofing insurance company feels it’s extremely important that you take out the time to calculate the overall weight measurements of the snow, your equipment and workers. The alternative to not making these calculations is that you risk collapsing the roof.

Fall Protection Equipment

Your roofing insurance company believes fall protection equipment is vital and a major preventive of accidents. However, each worker must be properly trained on the equipment. Furthermore, once a piece of fall protection equipment has been activated, there must be a rescue plan in place.

Ladders and Aerial Lifts

Your roofing insurance company sees aerial lifts as a choice of last resort because of the danger involved. It’s better to use a ladder for tasks such as de-icing. However, ladders present their own safety risks. It’s important that the ladder be grounded in a stable position. Ideally, when someone’s climbing up a ladder, a person should be positioned below.

Summary

Winter is the most treacherous season of all for a roofer. Your roofing insurance company wants you to take the steps needed to keep your workers safer. Accidents cost you in a loss of productivity. That loss combined with your worker’s injury can add up to a cost that is not affordable.

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