OSHA logo The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 and was charged, by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” OSHA achieves its goals by providing and implementing workplace guidelines intended to prevent injury to employees while completing their assigned job duties. The roofing industry is no different from any other, and employers are subject to OSHA regulations.

Several OSHA requirements for all employers include:

  • providing a workplace that is safe and free of hazards
  • provide safety training in a language and vocabulary that all employees can understand
  • display appropriate OSHA signage in the workplace
  • providing personal protective equipment to employees at no cost to employees
  • maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses
  • no employer may discriminate or retaliate against employees for exercising their rights under the Act

OSHA provides specific recommendations for roofing contractors who regularly face dangers associated with falling off of a roof. A few of these measures include:

  • identifying any potential fall protection needs before beginning a roofing project
  • survey the roof for preexisting anchorage points (if none exist, install necessary precautions)
  • skylights should be buffered by a guard rail, or a protective cover may be utilized, but this cover must be able to support twice the weight that it is asked to bear
  • proper footwear is essential and is considered personal protective equipment
  • employees should remain vigilant for air hoses and other cords used for power tools
  • workers on roofs should be attached to a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS),
  • other fall preventive measures include rope grabs and horizontal lifelines

These fall protection methods may not be appropriate for all roofing job sites and employers are responsible for meeting OSHA inspection rules by providing a safe working environment. Consult the OSHA website or contact an OSHA inspector to learn more about OSHA inspection rules.