What’s New?

Photo: International Roofing Expo

There’s a running joke I have with a couple of other trade journalists about how the most common sentence uttered at industry trade shows is “What’s new?” The joke isn’t that funny, but it is true. I found myself asking that question a lot at the recent International Roofing Expo (IRE) in Dallas, and I saw a lot of people brighten up as they started to show me their company’s latest offerings.

For me, the sheer number of new products being introduced at the show was the most striking thing about this year’s IRE. The event set records for attendance and the size of the show floor, but it was the new products I will remember most.

Almost every asphalt shingle manufacturer has introduced new developments in the past year, including new polymers that increase strength, hail resistance and flexibility, even in cold weather. New features also include larger and more durable nailing zones. Roof membrane manufacturers have continued to develop new features designed to make their products easier and more efficient to install. Underlayments are more durable, less prone to tearing, and offer better traction. Tools and equipment are being updated to make them simpler and easier to use.

The manufacturers are clearly aiming to address roofing contractors’ key pain points, which include the current labor shortage. In fact, at the IRE the term “labor shortage” might have been uttered almost as often as “What’s new?”

Products that are easier to install mean that there is less likelihood of making mistakes. The learning curve is also reduced, so a new employee in the field can be trained and brought up to speed more quickly. In an era marked by tight labor, promoting someone from field laborer to installer more quickly can be crucial.

We’ll continue to update readers on new product developments in the pages of Roofing as the year goes on. At press time, the COVID-19 coronavirus is currently making headlines, and it is possible a pandemic will be the next force to affect the economy. Right now, the future is uncertain.

Sometimes there isn’t a clear answer to the question, “What’s new?”

Creating a Company That Embraces Diversity and Inclusion

Given the ongoing labor shortage in the roofing industry as well as the national conversation recently sparked by the #Metoo movement concerning sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, never before has the topic of embracing and fostering diversity in the workplace been more important than now. Although there certainly is no one-size-fits-all quick-fix solution to the problem, below are three steps companies can take to help foster a workplace environment that embraces diversity through creating and maintaining a culture of inclusiveness and intolerance of harassment and discrimination of any kind.

Written Policies and Procedures

The first step a company should take to embrace diversity in the workplace is to make sure it has the commitment to diversity, non-discrimination, and non-harassment down in writing for all employees to read and understand. This includes having a written policy, at a minimum in the employee handbook, that clearly states that the company does not discriminate on the basis of any protected class or category and prohibits all employees from discriminating against or harassing any individuals on the basis of their membership in any protected class or otherwise.

The policy should also provide clear, robust reporting procedures for employees to know how and to whom they should report any claims of discrimination or harassment they experience or witness. These reporting policies should not be limited to requiring employees to report claims only to their immediate supervisor, but should instead provide multiple avenues for reporting to upper management and/or HR in case the employee’s immediate supervisor is the accused harasser.

The company’s handbook policy should also state that all complaints of discrimination or harassment will be promptly and thoroughly investigated by an impartial member of management or HR and will be handled as confidentially as possible.

The handbook should also contain an express provision that prohibits retaliation against anyone who makes a discrimination or harassment claim or who provides verification or support for a claim made by someone else. 

Additionally, the policy should spell out the potential consequences for any discriminatory or harassing behavior, including the possibility of disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Finally, the company’s written anti-discrimination policies should make clear that they apply to everyone in the company including all levels of management and that everyone is expected to comply with them and to uphold the values of the company by reporting any discriminatory or harassing behavior they experience or witness.

Education and Training

The next component needed to create a workplace environment that embraces diversity and inclusion is for the company to educate and provide comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training — preferably live and in person — for all employees, but especially for all management-level employees, on the policies and procedures outlined above.

The company’s training should clearly spell out what is and is not considered harassment and who can be a harasser (managers, co-workers, customers, vendors, individuals of the same sex as the victim, etc.).

Because actions taken (or not taken) by managers and supervisors are imparted to the company, all managers should be thoroughly trained and knowledgeable about the company’s reporting procedures, including how to escalate complaints they may receive up the chain to HR and/or upper management, how to recognize, stop, and address harassing conduct when they see it happening, and how to prevent further harassing behavior from occurring while an investigation is ongoing in such a way that does not punish the complaining employee or prematurely punish the accused harasser before the investigation is completed.

Executive Leadership, Buy-in, and Accountability

Finally, embracing diversity and building a workplace culture of inclusiveness requires executive buy-in, accountability, and support from the top down so that managers feel empowered to enforce the company’s policies and employees trust that they can speak up without fear of reprisal.

Company executives should outwardly champion the company’s non-discrimination and harassment policies, openly and frequently expressing the company’s commitment to diversity and to providing a workplace free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Company leaders should also hold managers and employees accountable by regularly checking in to make sure the company’s policies are being enforced and complied with. This includes ensuring all complaints are being reported up the chain, investigations are being promptly, fairly, and confidentially conducted, and appropriate discipline that actually ends the harassing behavior is being imposed for any established violations of the company’s policies.

Company management should also avoid downplaying or ignoring any bad behavior that may occur or that has occurred in the company’s past and should assure employees that the company takes these issues seriously, does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind, and has mechanisms in place to correct any such behaviors that do not reflect the company’s values.

Although a company that implements the steps above may not see immediate changes in the diversity of its workforce or applicant pool, these steps will go a long way towards building a reputation within the company, the community, and the roofing industry that the company fully embraces and promotes diversity, which should eventually lead to a more diverse and productive workplace environment for the company down the road.

About the author: Marci Britt is an attorney at Cotney Construction Law who practices primarily in labor and employment law. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry and serves as General Counsel for NRCA, FRSA, RT3, NWIR, TARC, WSRCA and several other roofing associations. For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Rotating Deck Anchor Features 360-Degree Self-Orienting D-Ring

The FallTech Rotating Deck Anchor is designed for maximum versatility and safety with a 360-degree self-orienting D-ring for use in temporary fall arrest or restraint applications. The reusable Rotating Deck Anchor is designed for installation onto exposed #10 rebar and threaded rod and is secured with user-supplied rebar wing nut or hex nut.

The anchor is designed for installation onto 1-inch diameter exposed threaded rod or exposed #10 rebar. It features a plated stainless steel anchoring plate, and steel plated D-ring and bushing. Its 360-degree self-orienting D-ring follows the user’s movement. The product requires a user-supplied fastener to complete the installation. According to the manufacturer, the product meets ANSI Z359.18-2017 and OSHA 1926.502,1910.66 requirements.

LEARN MORE

Visit: http://falltech.com

Call: (800) 719-4619

The “Roofers’ Choice” selection is determined by the product that receives the most reader inquiries from the “Materials & Gadgets” section in a previous issue. This product received the most inquiries from our November/December 2019 issue.

How Employers Should Respond to COVID-19

As COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) continues to affect our daily lives, and is now officially considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is crucial for employers to be aware of the steps the government is taking to reduce infection, how those steps affect your business, and the protocols your business needs to implement to ensure you are complying with what is required under these unusual circumstances. Because the national response is changing daily, it is important to remain up-to-date on new laws, regulations, and government mandates that are likely to begin taking effect rapidly.

Employer Screening and Examinations

To a certain extent, the COVID-19 pandemic is largely unchartered territory. However, there are certain laws, regulations, and government advisory statements that may help an employer deal with these complex issues.

In early March 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, referring employers to an advisory opinion the EEOC previously published in 2009 amidst the H1N1 (“swine flu”) outbreak. In its 2009 advisory opinion, the EEOC implemented a temporary waiver of certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that would otherwise prohibit an employer from taking action based on an employee’s medical conditions. In taking the position that illnesses related to global pandemics are dissimilar to the disabilities that the ADA was designed to protect, the EEOC calls for more flexibility in allowing employers to conduct medical examinations and screenings in the workplace if doing so is “consistent with a business necessity” or if the employer has “a reasonable belief the employee poses a direct threat to the health or safety” of others and the workplace.

For example, an employer may institute screenings for employees who exhibit flu-like symptoms in the workplace, but may not make such inquiries to employees who work remotely or do not come into contact with other employees as part of their job description.

Relying on the CDC’s recommendations for employers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are able to screen and examine employees to ensure the health and safety of others in the workplace. The CDC suggests that employees should be screened if (a) they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, etc.; (b) the employee recently returned from travel abroad; or (c) the employee is known to have been exposed to a person who is a confirmed carrier of the virus. During these examinations, an employer may ask an employee if he or she is experiencing any flu-related symptoms, what symptoms the employee is experiencing, whether the employee has visited a doctor or has been tested for COVID-19, the employee’s recent travel history, and the employee’s reasoning for any recent work absence.

The CDC and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) advise that employees who exhibit flu-related symptoms can and should be sent home immediately and prohibited from returning to work until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours. If an employee has traveled to a country designated a Level 3 travel risk area (currently China, Iran, South Korea, and much of Europe), it is recommended that the employee be sent home immediately and be required to remain away from the workplace for 14 days. Further, if an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, it is suggested that all employees who came in contact with that employee are sent home and a professional cleaning company is hired to do a full cleaning of the affected workspace.

Ultimately, any medical information employers received from an employee during one of these screenings, examinations, or otherwise, must remain confidential. If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform other employees about their potential exposure to the virus, but the identity of the infected employee must remain confidential to the extent possible.

With all that being said, employers must be careful not to violate any state, federal, or local laws when implementing new protocols designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For instance, employers should avoid taking adverse employment actions (termination, demotion, etc.) against an employee who misses work or is sent home due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Additionally, employers must implement all such protocols uniformly and equally amongst all employees to avoid violating anti-discrimination laws. For example, if an employer chooses to send an employee home for exhibiting flu-like symptoms, it should also send home all other employees exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

Workplace Safety Standards

The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to keep their workplaces free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. While it remains to be seen whether COVID-19 is considered a “recognized hazard” pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 654(a)(1), OSHA standards tend to rely heavily on CDC guidelines, which could consider a pandemic the scale of COVID-19 as such a hazard. Accordingly, employers must be cognizant of potential health risks posed by certain employees and implement protocols for employees to remain safe during a potential outbreak. Additionally, COVID-19 may be considered a recordable illness pursuant to 29 C.F.R. 1904 – Subpart C. For example, an outbreak of an infectious disease or similar illness occurring at a medical facility may be considered a recordable illness, under the Code of Federal Regulations, if such an outbreak is an illness resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment. Please note, however, that the Bloodborne Pathogens standard found in 29 C.F.R. 1910.1030, which requires employers take certain measures during the outbreak of a bloodborne pathogen, does not apply in the response to COVID-19.

Please visit OSHA’s website (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html), which has an employer’s guide to COVID-19, for more general guidelines and tips for maintaining a safe workforce during this outbreak.

Employee Pay and Benefits

In the coming weeks, as more employees either choose to work from home or are required to do so, employers will face challenges regarding employee pay and conditions of employment. Generally speaking, unless otherwise stated in an employee’s contract, employers are not required to provide paid leave or paid time off to employees who are unable to work due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Additionally, employers may require employees forced to take time off during an outbreak to use any accrued paid time off (sick and/or vacation days) during such an outbreak. However, employees must be properly compensated for any work they perform remotely or off-site. Minimum wage and overtime laws remain effective during a pandemic.

If you employ union workers and are requiring such employees stay home from work, to the extent possible, you must bargain in good faith with such employees prior to making any unilateral changes to their employment status or benefits. It is strongly advised that all union-employers familiarize themselves with their respective collective bargaining agreements prior to making any such changes.

If your business is a covered employer under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employee who contracts COVID-19 or needs to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has contracted the virus, may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave and a continuation of his or her health insurance benefits during the time that he or she is unable to work because of the virus. Depending on the terms of your leave policy, the employee may choose to use accrued paid leave during his or her FMLA leave, or you may require the employee to do so. According to the DOL, the FMLA does not apply to leave taken by an employee merely for the purpose of avoiding exposure to COVID-19 or to care for a healthy dependent whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19. There is currently no federal law addressing private-sector employees who take off from work to care for healthy dependents.

However, in response to COVID-19, the United States House of Representatives recently passed a bill that, if enacted, would expand the scope of FMLA job-protected leave and would require employers to provide paid leave in certain circumstances. It is important for employers to monitor this bill (H.R. 6201) and respond accordingly if it passes. Further, employers should also be mindful that some states have previously enacted their own state family medical leave law, and employers must comply with those analogous state laws where applicable.

Mass Layoffs

If your business is covered by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, you are generally required to provide affected employees at least 60-days’ notice before a mass layoff or plant closure as defined by the Act. However, the normal 60-days’ notice likely does not apply if the mass layoff or closure is due to the effects of COVID-19, as this would likely fall under the “unforeseeable business circumstances” exception to the WARN Act. However, even where the unforeseeable business circumstances exception applies, a covered business is required to give its employees as much notice as is reasonably practicable. Employers should also be mindful of potential state laws similar to the Federal WARN Act, and ensure that any mass layoff or closure complies with any such analogous state law.

About the authors: Benjamin Briggs is a Partner at Cotney Construction Law who represents clients in all aspects of labor and employment law. Elliot Haney is an Attorney at Cotney Construction Law who practices in all areas of construction law. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry and serves as General Counsel for NRCA, FRSA, RT3, NWIR, TARC, WSRCA and several other roofing associations. For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Reflecting on Your Life Will Change the Way You Think About Safety

As part of a “Bring It On Home” safety talk, audience members draw pictures of simple pleasures they enjoy. Photos: Richard Hawk

Tiny loves to play pool. But he can’t. We’ve spent many hours together around a pool table. I’m an avid pool player too. My wife once jokingly told me, “You spend more time with Tiny than you do with me.” I replied, “That’s because he plays pool better than you do!”

I’m praying that one day Tiny will be able to beat me on the table again. You see, on January 23, 2016, just a mile or so from his home Tiny lost control of his car and hit a telephone pole. The impact broke two of his vertebrae, severing part of his spinal cord. (James is his given name. He got the nickname “Tiny” from his dad because he was a “tiny” baby.) Thankfully Tiny didn’t die because of the accident, but he did lose a lot of mobility. Initially he was diagnosed as a quadriplegic, but now he can use his hands, arms and has partial use of his legs. Much of his recovery is due to intensive and painful physical therapy.

During my many years in the safety and health field, I’ve conducted dozens of incident investigations, including ones that involved fatalities. All of them made me sad, but this was the first time such a close friend has had a horrible, life-changing injury. Tiny’s accident gave me a deeper insight into why it’s so important for you and I to take safety seriously on and off the job and why it’s worth the effort to follow safety rules even when they seem inconvenient.

The most common comments victims of horrible injuries relate include “I can’t believe this has happened to me,” and “It’s worse than I expected,” or something similar. Another pool opponent of mine is a roofer. He fell a short distance off a ladder and injured his hip. At first, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But a couple years later he had to get the hip replaced, and an infection set in that nearly cost him his life. He told me that even though he’s been on roofs for more than 20 years, it was a big surprise how serious his injury turned out to be. He said that his injury gave him more respect for what can happen when you fall, even if it’s only a few feet.

One thing we often don’t realize about the consequences of a serious injury is how many different parts of our daily activities it will affect, particularly our simple pleasures. Tiny can’t drive, cook, play pool, take walks, or go to the bathroom the way he did before the accident. And many other personal activities have been taken away from him. His wife has had to alter her life drastically too. Even Tiny’s dog misses his owner’s mobility because Tiny used to walk with him twice a day.

Whether you’re on a roof, platform or inspecting a jobsite, if you have to tie off, set up a barrier or take the time for some other safety precaution that you feel you should skip or isn’t worth the effort, ask yourself if the temporary benefit of saving a few moments and avoiding a minor inconvenience is worth losing a common pleasure you enjoy every day — for the rest of your life.

I’m not a doomsayer or a “safety nerd” who isn’t fun-loving. And I understand as research has shown that “scare tactics” don’t have a strong effect on people’s behavior. That’s why I recommend you think positively about your safe behavior. Feel glad that you have the sense to work safely so you can enjoy simple pleasures with your friends and family.

During my “Bring It On Home” safety talk, I get everyone in the audience to draw a simple pleasure they enjoy regularly. The exercise is humorous because most people don’t have great drawing skills, so there are a lot of stick figures and “what’s that!?” objects on the sheets I give out. But many of the scenes are touching and depict activities with sons and daughters, pets and hobbies.

After holding up and describing a few “masterpieces,” I show a video of an interview I gave with Tiny, which he agreed to of course. (If you would like to see or use the video, just send me a request at richard@makesafetyfun.com.) It’s mostly about some of the things he misses since his accident and how his injury has impacted his simple pleasures. Tiny also talks about the strain it has put on his family and friends.

One topic I include in my “Bring It On Home” talk is the importance of teaching our children about safety. This has a twofold value. One, it helps our children stay safe and prepares them for their adult working life. Second, and much research has shown this to be true, any practices or values you teach your children you’re more likely to follow yourself. That’s not always the case; for example, some parents smoke but tell their children it is bad for them. Generally, however, it does have a positive effect on us when we teach our children positive behaviors.

Being a full-time safety professional while my children were growing up, I regularly taught them about safety. I even taught them how to wear a respirator! You can see from the picture; it took a bit of training to get them to wear their dust masks properly. But even today, after 30-plus years, my children still humorously remember how they were the only kids they knew who wore dust masks while doing yard work with their dad.

Safety involves every aspect of our life, not just what we do at work. That’s why teaching our children about safety, realizing how much a serious injury will affect our enjoyment of our entire life, and how much our families and friends will suffer too from our mishap can help us avoid taking shortcuts or doing something we know is dangerous.

Tiny is slowly getting better. He still mostly gets around in a wheelchair, but with the help of a walker, he can take a few steps. I drive him to rehab on occasions and play chess with him instead of pool. He may be able to drive soon, which is a something he misses dearly. Both of us are still amazed how much his injury has changed his life.

My favorite simple pleasure is drinking coffee with my wife in the morning while watching the birds on our feeders. I don’t want to lose that because I was careless. How about you? What simple pleasure do you protect by being safe on and off the job?

About the Author: Richard Hawk is a vibrant safety culture specialist. He helps leaders inspire employees to care more about their safety and health so that “nobody gets hurt!” He also has a long history of success getting safety leaders to make safety fun. For more than 35 years, Hawk’s safety keynotes, training sessions, books and “Safety Stuff” ezine have made a huge positive difference in the safety and health field, improving employees’ safety performance. For more information, visit www.makesafetyfun.com.

OSHA’s Top 10 Violations

As industry professionals, roofing contractors are inherently aware of the risks that their businesses and crews face each day on the job. Many make their best efforts to train crews, provide proper safety equipment, and develop safety policies to protect workers and clients, but sometimes even the best efforts and preparations are simply not enough. OSHA site inspections happen daily, and no matter how much safety equipment is available on the job or how many guidelines have been established, they are pointless if not applied effectively and followed consistently.

For this reason, it is important to take the time to review some of the most common OSHA violations to properly prepare crews and jobsites, as well as to take advantage of OSHA’s free resources that are available for construction professionals.

It’s a harrowing feeling to drive up to a jobsite and notice that crews aren’t following safety standards; unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence for most construction managers. From new hires to subcontractors, established safety guidelines may slip through the cracks, especially when workers don’t receive the appropriate amount of time for onboarding or safety training. These violations are not just reserved for new recruits; often seasoned crew members who have been employed by the same company for years can get complacent and begin to slack on basic safety measures.

Finding a team member on a roof without a harness or not wearing protective gear is not just a hazard but a real liability for a business owner and a fatality risk for a crew member. According to OSHA, there were approximately 4,675 worker fatalities in private industry during calendar year 2017. Out of those, 971 (20.7 percent) were in construction. In other words, one in five worker deaths in 2017 were in construction.

So, what are the most frequently cited violations in 2019? As reported by Federal OSHA for fiscal year 2019 (October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019), the following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards:

Cited Standard Total Number of Violations
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (Standard: 1926.501) 7,014
2. Hazard Communication (Standard: 1910.1200) 4,170
3. Scaffolding (Standard: 1926.451) 3,228
4. Lockout/Tagout (Standard: 1910.147) 2,975
5. Respiratory Protection (Standard: 1910.134) 2,826
6. Ladders (Standard: 1926.1053) 2,766
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (Standard: 1910.178) 2,347
8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (Standard: 1926.503) 2,059
9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) 1,987
10. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) 1,630

While the rankings for OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations are typically a repeat of previous years, it is important to refresh crews on this vital information. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) tops this year’s list for the ninth consecutive year. Meanwhile, Eye and Face Protection (1926.102), which was a newcomer to last year’s list, remains in the No. 10 spot.

With Fall Protection being the No. 1 most cited OSHA standard, it is important to have not only the proper fall protection equipment, but the proper training. Employers must be proactive and set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling from overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floors and walls.

OSHA considers falls to be one of the “Fatal Four” worker fatalities. The others are strikes by objects, electrocution, and caught-in/between. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (59.9 percent) of construction worker deaths in 2017. Eliminating these safety issues would save approximately 582 workers’ lives in the United States every year.

Tools and Resources

In order to assess hazards and prepare workers, OSHA has developed a number of helpful and free resources for protecting crews:

Training – OSHA offers a wide variety of training programs and resources at www.osha.gov. The revised version of the Training Requirements in OSHA Standards is exhaustive and more than 250 pages in length but will provide detailed information on what is required in meeting the training standard. The Training Tab on OSHA’s website provides quick links for locating educational programs by area, PowerPoint guides and more.

Updates – Industry professionals can stay informed on the latest updates from OSHA by following their news feed or subscribing to their online newsletter, QuickTakes. The newsletter is distributed twice monthly and provides the latest updates regarding enforcement actions, rulemaking, outreach activities, compliance assistance, training and educational resources. As of last year, subscribers began receiving occasional “Did You Know?” messages that inform them of the latest OSHA safety resources.

Safety Tools/Apps – OSHA has and continues to develop a variety of interactive and user-friendly apps and training tools that contractors and crews can use to assess hazards on the job. Such tools include but are not limited to the following:

  • OSHA’s Hazard Identification Training Toolis a web-based video game style training tool that can be used for learning the core concepts of hazard identification. The objective of this tool is to empower business owners and crews to better understand the process in identifying hazards on their own jobsites.
  • The Heat Safety Tool App was developed in conjunction with OSHA’s “Water. Rest. Shade.” campaign to decrease the number of heat-related injuries and fatalities. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable, and this app is an easy way to calculate the heat index and understand risk levels. The app also allows the user to receive reminders about protective measures that should be taken.
  • Safe Lifting Calculatorwas developed by Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services to automatically alert the user when he/she fails to use proper lifting techniques while picking up a box or similar load. Oregon OSHA’s app was designed based on research conducted on safe lifting in order to provide a maximum safe weight for various lifting scenarios.

Although the construction industry is teeming with high-risk hazards, business owners and workers can stay safe with proper training, tools and by understanding risks involved on the job. By staying abreast of the latest requirements and utilizing industry-specific safety apps and tools, such hazards and associated accidents can be avoided. Since OSHA’s standards may be revised at any time and new tools are developed each year, it is important to regularly review current safety guidelines and make proper modifications as needed to keep crews informed and safe.

Sources

OSHA Commonly Used Statistics: https://www.osha.gov/data/commonstats

U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0321.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshsum.htm

OSHA Newsletter QuickTakes: https://www.osha.gov/quicktakes/

OSHA Training Requirements: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha2254.pdf

OSHA’s Hazard Identification Training Tool: https://www.osha.gov/hazfinder/index.html

Heat Safety Tool App: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html

About the author: Erika S. Carruth is the founder and president of Solovei Consulting, Inc., a full-service marketing communications firm.  As a writer and content developer, her focus areas include roofing and construction, technology and environmental sustainability.  For more information, visit www.soloveiconsulting.com.

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

This issue spotlights hospitality and entertainment projects, so when Susan Miller of 5MetaCom contacted me about a story on the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, I was excited for several reasons — including the fact that the project was close to the site of the 2020 International Roofing Expo, which will be held in Dallas February 4-6. But the more I dug into the story, the more complicated it looked. There was a domed roof on the main arena, which was surrounded by flat roofs. There were metal roof systems on the arena’s towers, and below was a pavilion with a standing seam metal roof system on it.

Susan wasn’t talking about any of those roofs, however; she proposed an article focusing on the plaza deck, the area that extends around every side of the 140,000-square-foot main arena and covers event space below. The plaza itself serves as an outdoor event space, and at the rodeo, attendees can look down through windows in the pavilion to view the warm-up area for horses during the event.

It was a lot of information to cover, so we included articles on both the Dickies Arena roof systems and the plaza deck in this issue. If you need another Texas-sized project, check out our article about The Star, a complex located on 91 acres in Frisco, Texas, that includes the Dallas Cowboys indoor practice facility. That project serves as the basis for the Roofing Alliance’s sixth annual Construction Management Student Competition, where teams will present their bids to the judges like actual companies offering a proposal to a general contractor. KPost Roofing & Waterproofing, the Dallas-based roofing contractor that installed the roof on the practice facility, will be working closely with the Roofing Alliance to prepare documents for the competition.

I hope to get a look at these projects and take in the student competition when I’m in Texas for the IRE. I hope to see you there. I also hope it will be a record-setting show. After all, they say everything is bigger in Texas.

Tips for Improving Ventilation on Residential Re-Roofing Projects

During residential re-roofing applications, it is important to ensure the roof system is properly ventilated. Photos: John R. Crookston

If the question is “Should I provide ventilation on this steep-slope roof?” there is a simple, one-word answer: Yes. The problem with this answer is that it would make a very short article, and I am sure that is not what was expected. Let me explain!

Ventilation is required if you have unconditioned space, and it is that space that needs to be ventilated. In most commercial applications, you are dealing with a flat roof membrane over insulation installed directly over a metal deck. With no “attic” involved, there is no unconditioned space and, therefore, there is no space to ventilate. You still have to find a way to control the moisture, but this is accomplished through the use of mechanical air conditioning and heating units, and also through the introduction of outside air and air exchanges. For this article, I want to concentrate on a typical residential steep-slope application, and the basis for most normal houses all goes back to 1 John 1:1, which goes something like this: “Thou Shalt Ventilate.”

To help all of this make sense, it is important to define some terms I use. “Conditioned space” is anywhere in the house that we are attempting to control the temperature or humidity — the living space of the house. “Unconditioned space” refers to areas of the structure where we are not attempting to control the temperature or humidity — typically attics (although some attics are treated as conditioned spaces). Unconditioned spaces should be as close to the outside temperature and humidity as possible. To accomplish this, we would use vapor barriers, insulation, and ventilation. The insulation would be anything that would restrict the transfer of either heat or cold in either direction; the vapor barrier would be anything that stops the transfer of moisture between the hot and the cold areas; and ventilation would be the method by which we allow the hot or cold air to move between the inside of the unconditioned space and the outside atmosphere.

Erecting scaffolding at the roof’s edge ensures safety and gives technicians a comfortable spot to examine and repair intake ventilation at the soffits.

Current building codes and building technologies have improved the performance of homes greatly by making them able to “breathe” and at the same time resist that transfer of energy. Examples would include the newer thermo-pane windows with better weather stripping, and house wrap to stop the wind pressure from penetrating the house. There are also truss roof systems that incorporate high “energy heels” at the plate to allow insulation all the way out to the edge of the plate and still allow a 4 inch air space at the plate to allow the air to flow freely.

To make this all work, it is important to fully ventilate the soffit area, and to combine this with a system to get the air out of the attic space. This could include a ridge vent system, regular roof louvers, turbine vents or gable end vents. It is important to remember, however, that you cannot mix these vents. We need to understand that air is lazy and will always follow the path of least resistance. If we mix the different types of vents on the roof, the air will move from one to the other and short-circuit the airflow. For example, air might flow from a roof vent near the peak to the ridge vent just a couple of feet away, leaving the rest of the attic with no airflow. In this case, more is not better.

Wide Range of Energy Efficiencies

You will find that most of the houses built after the late ’70s used truss systems that incorporated the energy heel. This also corresponded with the “energy crisis,” which saw a massive increase in the amount of insulation blown into the attics. Four to 6 inches became 12 to 20 inches, and it is important to know that the more you tighten up a house, the more important it is to increase the ventilation. A fully insulated house demands a fully ventilated house to perform effectively. About 10 years ago, we built a house and a cheese-making facility, using R-panels, which are made from EPS foam sandwiched between layers of OSB panels. They are incredibly strong and energy efficient. They can get so tight it is difficult to open or shut a door because of the air pressure. That can potentially be dangerous in the event of poor indoor air quality and pollution. In this instance, we engineered a mechanical system to completely change the air twice an hour — and at the same time, saving the energy of the heated or cooled air with an air-to-air heat exchanger. The system supplied combustion air for the furnace and the stove, and also recycled the heated air from the bathroom fans and the oven exhaust, saving the heat, but exchanging the air itself.

The soffit should be removed as part of the tear-off process.

Our projects have ranged from this extreme of efficiency to some of the older homes — some more than 150 years old — that had no insulation. They were wonders of efficiency for their time, and the builders understood all of these principles. It was common to see some of these elaborate homes with what looked like a “widow’s watch” observation tower with windows all around at the very peak of a low-sloped hip roof. Combined with a large central staircase, the owners could open the windows and inside doors in the summer, and the central hallway and the “widow’s watch” acted as a large chimney, moving the hot air out and pulling cool air in without any fans or electricity.

Many churches and other large buildings used the same principle to control the air inside, using either the steeples or large towers to act as chimneys as well as architectural and design focal points on these buildings. Problems often begin when we try and upgrade buildings to modern standards without taking into consideration how the changes will affect the design and operation of the building. Addressing these large, complicated buildings will be the subject of another article, but right now I want to specifically address the needs of residential houses built from the ’20s up through the late ’70s.

Homes Built From 1920-1979

There are millions of them. Before World War II, most were built with perhaps some minimal insulation or some aluminum foil to act as a radiant barrier, but energy was cheap and to do more would have been a waste of money. Without much insulation, there was little need for ventilation, as the house was drafty and, by definition, a drafty house is ventilating itself. After the war, the ranch-style house was the rage and I worked on thousands of them growing up. I have home movies of myself on the roof with my father when I was only four years old. By the time I was 10, I could lay out a roof and knew exactly what I was doing up there. Today, they would call that child abuse, but back then it was life. The point is that I lived and worked through this transition. In the ’50s, 2 inches of insulation in the walls was common and 3-1/2 inches in the ceilings. We would install some roof louvers in the attics and they would install some 3 inch vent strips in the wooden soffits for an intake. It was not much, but it was enough. Then the oil embargo occurred in the early ’70s and energy prices jumped.

It may be necessary to remove the bottom sheet of plywood to access the area from above. Often insulation will be found blocking the soffit.

Demand for insulation to save energy skyrocketed, and suddenly there were six pages of ads in the Yellow Pages for insulators. If some insulation was good, then more was better, and they blew insulation everywhere. Some was installed in the walls, but the biggest bang for the buck was in the attics, and it seems that all of the soffits were filled and the opening at the plate was blocked. Without this intake, the only thing that the roof louvers could do was let out some heat; the air movement stopped. The water vapor still got into the unconditioned attic space through whatever insulation was installed, and since it could not get out, it would condense in the insulation and on the wood surfaces and cause mold, rot and mildew.

Since there was no air movement at the plate, and the insulation was packed tightly against the bottom of the roof decking, in northern climates the heat would transfer to the roof surface during the winter, and ice buildup became a huge problem. In the southern climates things were reversed, and problems cropped up during the summer months when the air conditioning was running. Simply put, “You cannot fool Mother Nature!” Shingles that used to last for 25 to 30 years were now “cooked” in place in 10 to 15 years. Mold and algae became a problem on roof surfaces to a much greater extent than in years past, and most of this is and was caused by a lack of ventilation.

Tips for Avoiding Mistakes

Roofing is so much more than just installing shingles, but we have to be able to see the bigger picture to understand why. As a third-generation union carpenter, who is still working on roofs at 67 years of age, I love what I do and I am very good at it. Since I see the same mistakes being repeated again and again, I feel obligated to pass on the experience that I have accumulated over the years. I have learned some hard lessons making all of the mistakes I am talking about here, and hopefully all of us can learn from them.

Installing proper vent baffles at the soffit creates an air channel into the attic from the soffit and prevents the insulation from touching the underside of the roof deck.

Here are some tips for avoiding common ventilation mistakes at each stage of the re-roofing process:

  • Check the attic space when you figure a new roof.
  • If you can’t see light coming from the soffit into the attic, then there is no air getting in either. · At this point, you either have to become a carpenter or soffit man — or hire one.
  • Take apart the soffit as you do the roofing tear-off.
  • You may need to remove the bottom sheet of plywood to see what you are doing from above.
  • If the soffit is aluminum or vinyl, chances are that there is an original wooden soffit beneath it.
  • Tear it all out. Take out the insulation that has been blown into the soffit at the same time.
  • Replace the old soffit with a fully vented aluminum or vinyl soffit system. Vented aluminum has twice the Net Free Area as vinyl for the same square footage, but they both work.
  • Install proper vent baffles at the soffit to create an air channel into the attic from the soffit. You cannot let the insulation touch the bottom side of the roof deck.
  • Check the bathroom vents and make sure that they are vented to the outside with a flapper vent through the roof and not vented into the attic space.
  • Do the same for any kitchen vents.
  • Install new sheeting along the bottom after you have fixed all of these problems.
  • Determine how much ventilation you need to vent the attic space (square inches). Normally, this is 1/150 of the attic floor space. (For example, if the attic floor is 30 feet by 50 feet, the attic floor area is 1,500 square feet. 1,500 divided by 150 = 10 square feet of ventilation.)
  • You need this much ventilation opening at the high point of the roof, ideally at the ridge.
  • If you install a ridge vent, take out and cover over the holes of the old roof louvers, turbine vents and gable end vents. You can just install some felt or plastic sheeting over the gable vents from the inside.
  • This will give you one intake at the soffit area, and one exhaust at the ridge. Don’t worry about having too much intake at the soffit, as it will only allow as much air in as it exhausted at the peak.
  • Install the new roof as per code.

Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

Making sure the new roof system is properly ventilated will maximize the service life of the shingles installed.

We will normally erect a scaffold around the perimeter of every job we do to give us access to this important area of the roof. This may sound like overkill, but that is the area where you want to spend the most time, as that is where the problems normally occur. It can be more expensive, but what we are talking about is value as opposed to price. Quite simply, I am not interested in talking to someone whose only concern is the cheapest price. On a steeper, higher roof, you will find that this is actually a faster and cheaper way to work, too. With a catch platform around the building, you have a place to work and store materials, you can see exactly what you are doing, and you also don’t need to have harnesses and ropes to obstruct you and still meet OSHA standards. Since I sell the jobs but also work on them, this is what I prefer. It is also impressive for the homeowner and it sets us apart from most of the competition. We have been doing it like this since 1986, so I know that it is a viable option. Scaffold is expensive initially, but when you have used it once, you will wonder how you did the work without it. It is also a line item on all of my bid forms, and after it has been paid for it is a profit center, too. That is the best of all worlds.

I have read that experience is what you get when you are looking for something else. I have many years invested in looking for “something else,” so I hope that this article helps you avoid just some of the mistakes that I have made in my lifetime.

About the Author: John R. Crookston is a roofing contractor and consultant located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has more than 60 years of experience in the roofing industry and has written technical articles for a variety of publications under the pseudonym “Old School.”

Is There Ambiguity About Regulatory Compliance With Edge Metal Systems?

This photo shows a gravel stop failure during roof inspections after Hurricane Ike in Sept. 2008. Photos: ATAS International

Recently while preparing training for our team on how to ensure that the edge metals that we install comply with building code, inconsistencies and confusion about regulatory compliance caused me to dig deeper. Specifically, my questions related to ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1 2017. The requirements of section 3.0 (shown below) caused the greatest concerns:

3.0 Membrane Termination

Two types of membrane termination are industry accepted: dependently and independently terminated systems.

3.1 Dependently Terminated Systems

Ballasted systems, ribbon/spot adhered systems, or systems in which the mechanically attached roof over is secured to the substrate at a distance greater than 12 in (300 mm) from the roof edge are considered dependently terminated by the roof edge system. For these systems the RE-1 and RE-2 tests are required.

3.2 Independently Terminated Systems

Systems in which the roof cover is fully adhered to the substrate or a mechanically attached roof cover is secured to the substrate at a distance less than or equal to 12 in (300 mm) from the roof edge are considered independently terminated. For these systems the RE-2 test or RE-3 test is required.

A graphic depicting the RE-1 test from standard ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1.

Many installed roof systems are mechanically fastened thermoplastic with fastener row spacing that exceeds the 12-inch requirement, and often snap-on fascia systems are utilized to meet the owner/designer’s price concerns. The product data sheets for most of prefabricated snap-fascia cover systems frequently contain the following statement(s):

ANSI/SPRI/FM-4435 ES-1 Tested and Certified.

Quality Assurance: The fascia product shall be listed in the current Factory Mutual Research Corporation Approval Guide approved by ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1 SPRI Test Method RE-2 Pull-Off test for fascia. Fascia shall be certified by the manufacturer to design pressures as indicated in current edition of Wind Resistance Standard for Edge Systems Used with Low Slope Roofing Systems.

It was the last few sentences which concerned me as a roofer. If the systems are only tested for RE-2, then it is likely that ballasted systems, ribbon/spot adhered systems, or systems in which the mechanically attached roof cover is secured to the substrate at a distance greater than 12 inches (300 mm) from the roof edge that incorporate this edge flashing may not comply with building codes.

RE-2 testing being conducted on fascia.

In hopes of finding an edge metal detail that was tested for RE-1 per ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1, the NRCA Technical Services was contacted. This resulted in the revelation that RE-1 testing cannot be performed for generic membrane types. Rather, the testing would have to be performed on each type of membrane for each manufacturer. This is due to many factors related to the typical properties of each membrane type and manufacturer. These factors can include type of reinforcement (if any), mixture components, type of manufacturing process, etc. Therefore, the testing data can be proprietary.

Now, as a roofing contractor, I am really confused.

1. The building code tells me that the edge metals we install must:

1504.5 Edge securement for low-slope roofs.

Low-slope built-up, modified bitumen and single-ply-roof system metal edge securement, except gutters, shall be designed and installed for wind loads in accordance with Chapter 16 and tested for resistance in accordance with Test Methods RE-1, RE-2 and RE-3 of ANSI/SPRI ES-1, except Vult wind speed shall be determined from Figure 1609A, 1609B, or 1609C as applicable.

2. ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1 states:

Membrane Termination

Two types of membrane termination are industry accepted: dependently and independently terminated systems.

3.1 Dependently Terminated Systems

Ballasted systems, ribbon/spot adhered systems, or systems in which the mechanically attached roof cover is secured to the substrate at a distance greater than 12 in (300 mm) from the roof edge are considered dependently terminated by the roof edge system. For these systems the RE-1 and RE-2 tests are required.

3.2 Independently Terminated Systems

Systems in which the roof cover is fully adhered to the substrate or a mechanically attached roof cover is secured to the substrate at a distance less than or equal to 12 in (300 mm) from the roof edge are considered independently terminated. For these systems the RE-2 test or RE-3 test is required.

RE-3 testing being conducted on coping.

3. We now know that RE-1 testing cannot be uniformly tested for each type of roof membrane. Therefore, it is not always readily available.

4. Of the pre-manufactured edge metal suppliers that were contacted, some indicated they tested per RE-1, while others agreed that they only tested to the RE-2 standard, and some went so far as to say that RE-1 test does not relate to their product. However, ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1 2017 states otherwise.

Ongoing Questions

Should all roofing contractors go ahead and install the securement within 12 inches of the roof edge to ensure that all non-adhered roof systems are independently terminated, avoiding the need for RE-1 testing? Worse yet, should we install fasteners in ballasted roof systems since passing RE-1 test data is not readily available? Fasteners in the field of a ballasted roof can be a disaster. (One option that contractors can use to avoid the need for RE-1 testing is by installing a peel stop.) The question remains: Is confusion about RE-1 and ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1 driving contractors to install independently terminated roof membrane systems?

When all is said and done, it is the roof installer that is ultimately responsible for proper application of the product to meet the legal requirements. It appears that there is ambiguity and confusion concerning ANSI/SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1 and code compliance. We can only hope that this will be clarified by building professionals, rather than lawyers. In the interim, we are now aware of the potential issues and can react as we deem necessary to mitigate our liability.

About the author: Andy Baker is vice president of Baker Roofing, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has 40 years of experience in the construction industry, 33 of which have been exclusively related to roofing, from roofer to vice president. For more information, visit www.bakerroofing.com.

Fluid-Applied, Seamless Membrane Is Durable, Virtually Odorless, Easy to Apply

Garland’s first ever fluid-applied seamless membrane, LiquiTec, forms a virtually impenetrable surface over aged modified bitumen, metal and single-ply roof systems, adding years of waterproofing protection. LiquiTec is an aliphatic polyurea coating system with a tightly bonded molecular structure that provides strength and durability similar to truck bed liners. LiquiTec is built to protect roof surfaces from damage caused by hail, foot traffic, wind scour and other impact.

According to the manufacturer, LiquiTec fully and partially reinforced systems exhibit extremely high tensile strength and remain flexible at temperatures down to -60°F (-51°C), which helps keep the coating from cracking or becoming brittle to ensure a complete watertight seal and long-term waterproofing protection. In addition to its strength, LiquiTec contains zero VOCs and is extremely low odor to allow roof work to be completed with minimal or no disruption at sensitive locations like schools, hospitals and other structures where people are present. 

This two-component product also undergoes a chemical cure process, rather than a moisture cure, so it cures quickly and with less disruption from weather, allowing for faster installation and waterproofing protection. 

“LiquiTec is the answer to so many of our customers’ waterproofing needs. Its unique formulation, strength and flexibility provides the right amount of toughness combined with superior waterproofing protection,” said Ed Buczek, Garland’s senior product manager of roof coatings. “And to top it off, the fact that it is extremely low odor, highly flexible, resistant to fungi and chemically cured allows it to be installed nearly anywhere and perform in the most extreme environments.”

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.garlandco.com

Call: (800) 321-9336

The “Roofers’ Choice” winner is determined by the product that receives the most reader inquiries from the “Materials & Gadgets” section in a previous issue. This product received the most inquiries from our September/October 2019 issue.