Follow Proper Safety Standards and Procedures When Loading Materials on the Roof

Ladder hoists can easily transport up to 400 pounds of materials to high rooftops.

Ladder hoists can easily transport up to 400 pounds of materials to high rooftops.

Architects, building owners, contractors, facility managers and other skilled professionals allied with the roofing industry rely on proven safety standards and procedures to keep workers safe. This attention to safety is even more important in areas where natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes are a frequent occurrence.

Earthquake-resistant roofing: After an earthquake, the collapse of poorly constructed concrete roofs and walls leads to significant injuries and death. This is especially true in economically disadvantaged countries where building codes are absent and financial resources are limited. Lighter roofing materials like aluminum and other metals pose less risk for earthquake survivors, and disaster-resistant monolithic shells made of reinforced concrete show real promise.

Hurricane-resistant roofing: Clay tiles and concrete tiles hold up better than wood and other types of shingles in hurricane conditions. In Guam, monolithic domes made completely of reinforced concrete have withstood both earthquakes and hurricanes for 50 years.

Tornado-resistant roofing: Unlike earthquake zones and likely hurricane pathways, tornado-prone areas have no international code for building. Keeping the roof on a building may prevent the walls from collapsing and heavier materials like reinforced concrete seem to best suit this purpose. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are being used for roofing but serve more for insulation than for structural integrity in a storm. Once again, reinforced concrete building materials hold up the best. Kenneth Luttrell, PE/CE/SE, MACI, and Joseph Warnes, PE/CE, FACI, FPCI provide detailed analysis in their study titled “Hurricane and Tornado-Resistant Concrete Houses.”

Of course, the very materials that make buildings resistant to natural disasters—especially the reinforced concrete and clay tiles that stand up to hurricanes and tornadoes—present a greater worker safety risk due to their size and weight. You can still get those bulky, heavy materials to the roof and safeguard worker well-being if you choose the right material hoist to prevent falls, decrease injuries, and minimize the chances of both non-fatal and fatal accidents.

Material Transport Options and Risks

Roofing jobs include inherent costs and risks. Transporting materials to the roof is labor-intensive, hazardous work when you must manually carry objects up a ladder. Bulky and/or heavy items increase the risk of accidents, including falls that can lead to death. If you violate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “three points of contact” regulation regarding ladders, you face stiff fines. Boom trucks and roofing conveyors may partially eliminate some of this risk, but they require operator training, rental fees and significant space. They can also potentially cause property damage to driveways, lawns and landscaping. These machines can fail to unload materials safely away from the edge of the roof, which is precisely where you want them. In many cases, an OSHA-approved material hoist is the better, safer alternative.

A platform hoist can decrease the risk of injuries, minimize OSHA infractions, prevent accidents and reduce worker fatigue.

A platform hoist can decrease the risk of injuries, minimize OSHA infractions, prevent accidents and reduce worker fatigue.

OSHA Regulations

OSHA ruling 29 CFR §1910.28(a), which took effect in January 2017, puts the responsibility for worker safety—especially the testing and certification of fall-protection systems—on the building owners who hire roofing contractors. Employers must now provide fall protection for employees who will be walking or working on a surface with an edge that is four or more feet above the ground. Depending on the fall danger, employers are free to choose from guardrails, personal fall arrest (PFA) systems, safety nets, travel-restraining systems, or warning lines that mark a designated work area near a low drop-off.

This ruling revised previous industry rules regarding falling, slipping and tripping in the workplace so that the construction rules and the general industry rules are more closely aligned. Unfortunately, repair work—governed by OSHA’s mandate 29 CFR §1926 for the construction industry—and maintenance work—regulated by 29 CFR §1910 for general industry—are still ambiguous.

A provision for ladders is also included in the new ruling. A cage, ladder safety system (a body harness and connectors, carrier, lanyard, or safety sleeve), a PFA system, or a well must be included on fixed ladders installed before Nov. 19, 2018, that extend more than 24 feet from a lower level. On or after that date, fixed ladders must include a ladder safety system or a PFA to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of falls.

Under the new regulation, roofing contractors using these fixed ladders must ensure their workers’ safety with a cage, ladder safety device, self-retracting lifeline or well. Rest platforms are also required, depending on the height of the fixed ladder. Rope descent systems (RDSs) and their anchorages must be tested and certified in writing by the building owners.

In addition to regulating how workers should be protected from falls, OSHA also monitors how objects are carried and loaded/unloaded. For those doing manual lifting, OSHA states that:

  • Every person going up and/or down a ladder will grasp the ladder with at least one hand at all times, maintaining three points of contact with the ladder—either with two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet.
  • Workers must not carry loads and objects that might cause them to slip or fall.
  • All ladders, including portable extension ladders, fall under these OSHA rules.
  • Ladders must support four times their intended load unless they are labeled “rugged use, extra-heavy-duty,” in which case they are require to support a minimum of 3.3 times their 375-pound capacity.
  • No load is allowed to exceed the published weight limit.
  • Ladders may only be used for their intended purpose.
  • Non-self-supporting ladders must be tilted at an angle so the base of the ladder is one-quarter of the working length of the ladder away from whatever is supporting the top of the ladder.

Choose an OSHA-approved ladder hoist to meet these safety standards.

Material Hoists

For your workers’ safety, choose a material hoist company committed to your safety and to excellence, quality and service. Their products should easily transport up to 400 pounds of materials to high rooftops, keeping your team off of ladders. By handling the bulky, unstable and heaviest objects, a platform hoist decreases the risk of injuries, minimizes OSHA infractions, prevents accidents and cuts workers compensation claims. It also reduces worker fatigue.

Look for a ladder hoist designed to accommodate all types of building materials. This includes the new, heavier shingle packages that increase efficiency by increasing the number of shingles (and therefore the weight) of each shingle package. Also take into account the heavier materials that have proven their worth in areas prone to earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes including:

  • Clay tiles, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds/100 square feet
  • Concrete tiles, which can weigh up to 700 pounds /100 square feet
  • Reinforced concrete, which varies in weight due to thickness
  • Slate tiles, which can weigh up to 1300 pounds /100 square feet

Product Attachments

Choose a ladder hoist with product attachments that can handle the bulkier materials required for natural-disaster-resistant construction. An unloading ramp automatically unloads away from the roof’s edge, increasing safety and efficiency. Custom support braces stabilize your hoist or “laddervator,” protecting workers at greater heights. A plywood carrier can transport bulky material like rolled goods, sheets of metal or plywood, skylights, and trusses, keeping workers safe from carrying unwieldy items up a ladder one-handed.

Don’t let unwieldy, heavy objects or special materials that have proven their effectiveness in natural disaster zones keep you from a great safety record. Start with an OSHA-compliant platform hoist.

Learn more about this latest regulation at OSHA’s fall protection page.

Chicken Ladder Hook Rolls Easily without Crushing Ridge Vents

The Ridge Vent Chicken Ladder Hook #11611 from Acro Building Systems.

The Ridge Vent Chicken Ladder Hook #11611 from Acro Building Systems.

The heavy-duty, durable chicken ladders from Acro Building Systems make it easy to access and maneuver in hard-to-reach work areas. The premium Chicken Ladder Hook rolls easier without crushing ridge vents.

The Ridge Vent Chicken Ladder Hook #11611:

  • Works with existing Chicken Ladder system.
  • Can clear ridge vent systems.
  • Ideal for quick on-and-off work, such as inspections and estimates, solar panel installation and small repairs (masonry, HVAC, roofing).
  • Attach ladder section with a 1 1/2-inch bolt and reversible lock nut for safety. (For quick connect, use safety clevis pin.)
  • Raised solid-steel rungs are hand-welded for safety.
  • Wheels to roll up roof and prevents damaging shingles.
  • 250-pound capacity.
  • Powder-coated safety yellow.
  • Made in the U.S.

Summer Safety Tips for Roofing Workers

Summer, the prime season for inspections and reroofing projects, is here. Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every Florida roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, there are important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect.

Summer Safety Tips

1. Early To Rise
No one can control the weather, know how hot the day is going to get or predict with 100 percent accuracy when it will start to rain in the afternoon. However, contractors can control their day by getting an early morning start to avoid as much of the sun’s summer rays and afternoon rain as possible. Getting the bulk of the work done before the hottest point of the day is Roofing 101—and the key to surviving in summer heat.

2. Hydration Is Key
As reported by The New York Times, “Last year (2014) was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began.” The trend is continuing, with the warmest winter since 1880, according to the National Climatic Data Center. What does this mean for the summer of 2015? It probably means that a meteorology degree won’t be needed to predict the long heat wave that is undoubtedly in the forecast for this summer.

The best tip for surviving the extreme summer heat is staying hydrated. The human body is made up of 60 percent water, which is why the body is dependent on water to function. Water intake helps digest food, take nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body, and lubricate joints while cushioning organs.

Standing on the roof, directly in the path of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, causes the body to sweat. And while sweating regulates body temperature, excessive sweating without replenishment can lead to dehydration, fainting and many other serious ailments. Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after every roofing project should be the plan of action for all contractors working in the heat.

3. Keep It Cool
Standing on top of a roof, there is usually no shade to protect a roofer from the sun’s rays. Taking an ample amount of breaks in the shade, or air conditioning if available, while working through the hot sun is an important part in staying hydrated throughout the day.

4. Dress Appropriately
Appropriate clothes are the body’s first line of defense against the sun. Shirts designed to keep you cool, such Dri-Fit or ClimaCool, are a great way to beat the heat in the summer. These fabrics are breathable and wick moisture from the body.

Don’t forget about the importance of a good pair of shoes. Finding shoes that have a great resistance to wear-and-tear and have a slip-resistant sole are two important features for roofing footwear attire.

Finally, sunscreen is a roofer’s best short-term defense against burns and long-term safeguard when it comes to preventing skin cancer. To aid in a roofer’s fight against dehydration and other ailments caused by the sun, a layer of sunscreen should cover all body parts not shielded by clothing—it is the final piece to every roofer’s summer uniform.

5. Rain, Rain, Go Away
Rain is a huge hindrance for roofers. Slipping and falling is just one reason why sites like BankRate.com and BusinessInsider.com rank roofing as one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. So although the heat is dangerous, working in the rain is also very risky.

Wet shingles are heavier to carry onto a roof, felt is more likely to bubble up or rip, and the dangers of tripping and falling are real. And while it may be tempting to try and save an hour or two, the risk is not worth the reward. Avoid all of these potential hazards and do not roof in the rain.

Safety in the Sunshine

Make the most of the summer weather, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Get an early start, stay hydrated, take plenty of breaks, dress appropriately and be careful in the rain. It’s every contractor’s guide to conquering summer.

PHOTO: HitchClip

Essential Ladder Rack Features

As a roofing professional, you rely very heavily on your ladder for work. Keeping that ladder secure during transportation should be a priority. If you recently purchased a new work vehicle or a new ladder and are in the market for a secure storage solution for your ladder, it’s important to understand all of your ladder rack options before you make an investment.

At first glance, a ladder rack is just that—a piece of equipment that attaches to the roof of your van or truck to aid in the transportation of your ladder. But did you know that different ladder racks have different elements that may benefit you as a roofing professional?

Take a look at some of the most important features to consider when shopping for a ladder rack for your work vehicle:

  • Ergonomics: You use your ladder on a daily basis, if not more! Overtime, all of that loading and unloading can really take a toll on your back, shoulders and overall body. Even if you’re in fantastic physical shape, if you twist wrong or lose your balance while unloading a ladder, you could get seriously injured. An ergonomic ladder rack is ideal for professionals just like you. These types of ladder racks allow users to lower the ladder down to an easily reachable height. No more straining to reach your ladder!
  • Security: When you choose a ladder rack, you will want to make sure that it’s one that will keep your ladder secure during transportation. The last thing you want is to deal with a lawsuit because your ladder fell off your vehicle’s roof while driving. Look for ladder racks with lockable, gripping mechanisms to ensure safe transportation of your ladder.
  • Durability: No one wants to invest in a ladder rack just to have it rust out in a few years. Like with most products, the cost of a ladder rack is often directly correlated with its quality. A high-quality ladder rack may have a high sticker price but, in the long run, its durability and reliability will prove to be more cost-efficient. However, if you’re just looking for a short-term solution, a cheaper ladder rack maybe a better fit for your situation.
  • Versatility: Sometimes you may need to transport things other than your ladder on the roof of your work vehicle because of their size. If this is the case, you may want to consider a roof storage solution that has the ability to secure ladders and cargo. Look for a utility rack that features heavy-duty tie-down cleats to secure loads on the roof while traveling. Ladder racks come in all shapes and sizes with many different features available. So if you’re in the market fora new ladder rack, do your homework before you buy to ensure you’re getting the right product for your trade.

Ladder Clamp Allows for Safer Access

The SLATOR tool fastens to a steep slate or asphalt shingle roof and firmly clamps a ladder into position.

The SLATOR tool fastens to a steep slate or asphalt shingle roof and firmly clamps a ladder into position.

Falls are the leading cause of injuries and death at the workplace. In fact, according to OSHA, falling accounted for nearly 37 percent of all deaths in 2013 and is listed among constructions “fatal four.” Roofing professionals have always been particularly vulnerable to this danger. The inventors of SLATOR hope to change this. “We look forward to the day when falling off roofs was something that used to happen,” says Ronny Roseveare, co-owner of SLATOR.

A team of three remodelers/roofers from Lynchburg, Va. made a commitment to safety when they began their business in 2013. “In order to do the job right, we have to figure out a way to be safe,” says Roseveare. Between busy days working on houses, they began perfecting their approach to safety. Soon the Secure Ladder And Tie Off Responsibly, or SLATOR, was born.

OSHA compliant and ANSI certified, the thoroughly tested SLATOR tool fastens to a steep slate or asphalt shingle roof and firmly clamps a ladder into position, allowing any tradesman working on a roof easier and safer access to perform their work.

Louisville Ladder Acquires Lite Products

Louisville Ladder has acquired 100 percent of the assets of Lite Products Inc., a unit of Supplierpipeline. This acquisition wraps up the Strategic Alliance formed between the companies at the end of 2013.

Lite Products, located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has been a manufacturer and marketer of climbing products in Canada with strong brand recognition in the consumer channel. The Lite Products operations will boost Louisville’s resources in Canada and will compound benefits for both their customers.

Customers will benefit from a strong portfolio of products and brands targeting specific needs and segments. Louisville, a widely renowned brand in the Professional Channel, is an innovator of Climbing Products promoting Safety and Productivity for all ladder users.

Full incorporation of both companies will materialize over a period of three months, during which Louisville Ladder will continuously communicate with customers, suppliers and employees, as needed, to facilitate a smooth transition.

Louisville and Lite employees are excited and looking forward to the possibilities this operation will generate and sure that it will certainly yield advantages for the Canadian Ladder Market and for their loyal customers.

Secure Ladders from a Lower-level Surface to an Upper Level

EZ Guardian from SafePro Guard

EZ Guardian from SafePro Guard

EZ Guardian from SafePro Guard is a new ladder safety device designed to reduce the risk of using conventional ladders on a sloped surface, such as an upper-level roof, known in the industry as a “double-pull.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 75 to 100 roofers lose their lives each year because of an accident on the roof. Three-quarters of these are fall-related, including falls from ladders. Eighty percent of fatal injuries in falls from ladders occur from falling from a distance of as little as 4 feet. That’s about the distance between the first and second levels of most houses and commercial buildings. EZ Guardian reduces the risk to anyone who works on a roof.

Until now, there has been no practical way to secure ladders leading from a lower-level sloped surface to an upper level. The EZ Guardian solves the problem without leaving holes in your roof.

EZ Guardian makes it easy to climb multi-story roofs more safely and securely. Each EZ Guardian is adjustable, and a 4-foot extension is included for added convenience and versatility. When purchasing, choose the EZ Guardian that will fit your most common worksite conditions.

The EZ 2-4 extends to 8 feet with 4-foot extension (included)
The EZ 4-8 extends to 12 feet with 4-foot extension (included)