Swivel Metal Roof Anchor

Dynamic Fastener offers a swivel metal roof anchor for use with lifelines, rope/cable grabs or retractors. It offers continuous protection and freedom of movement with the 360 degree swivel and 180-plus degree flip movement of the D-ring, keeping the connection point in line with your work. According to the company, the unique design keeps the anchor point above the high point of the panels. The swivel metal roof anchor is designed for temporary or permanent application. It is designed to fit in the valleys of lighter R panels and capture the purlin below. The product is supplied with 14-14 x 11/2 inch T4 fasteners.

For more information, visit www.dynamicfastener.com.

National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls Rescheduled for September 14-18

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that the 7th annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction has been rescheduled for September 14-18, 2020. While OSHA postponed the event earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the agency continues to encourage employers to promote fall safety virtually or while employing social distancing practices among small groups.

OSHA is partnering with other safety organizations in 2020 to encourage employers to provide safety demonstrations on fall protection equipment, conduct talks regarding fall-related hazards, safety policies, goals and expectations, and promote the event by using the #StandDown4Safety on social media.

“This national initiative brings much needed attention to falls, which continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in construction,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Since OSHA began doing fall prevention stand-down events six years ago, nearly 10 million workers have been reached by our message that falls are preventable. These efforts have been successful in raising awareness of the recognition, evaluation, and control of fall hazards.”

Extensive resources are available on OSHA’s Fall Prevention Stand-Down webpage at http://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown and are presented in various languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese. Resources include a brief video entitled “5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls,” which encourages employers to educate and train workers on fall protection equipment; a series of fall prevention publications, with an emphasis on construction, and fall prevention videos; OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide, which provides a lesson plan for employers, including several Toolbox Talks; and guidance on ladder and scaffolding safety.

Employers are also encouraged to provide feedback after their events, and obtain a personalized certificate of participation.

The national safety stand-down is part of OSHA’s fall prevention campaign, and was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Occupational Research Agenda, and The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Safety Obligations Under the OSH Act Can Extend to Non-Employees and Other Trades

The nature of roofing (particularly re-roofing) frequently involves the presence of non-employees on or around active construction sites. This is true in both the residential and commercial contexts. However, the risk increases significantly on commercial projects, such as retail and mixed-use projects, where many parties can be present, including the property owners’ customers and employees, as well as other trades working at the project simultaneously.

As such, it is essential that roofing contractors understand the scope of their obligations to non-employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). While accidents and injuries can certainly trigger an investigation by OSHA, employers are frequently charged with violations of the OSH Act for merely failing to implement appropriate procedures. Not to be taken lightly, OSHA citations carry significant consequences, including penalties of up to $134,937 per violation, as well as creating a stigma against the company and loss of future opportunities. Moreover, company owners may not always be free to “walk away” from these consequences by closing the business (a common misbelief in the industry).

In the OSH Act, Congress authorized the Secretary of Labor to develop safety and health standards (OSHA regulations). One of the most important of these standards to contractors, arguably, is 29 CFR 1910.12, which provides: “Each employer shall protect the employment and places of employment of each of his employees engaged in construction work.” [Emphasis added.] This provision, like OSHA’s general duty clause, seems to imply that OSHA-imposed obligations extend only to an employer’s own employees. However, this is frequently not the case.

For many decades, the phrase “his employees” has been a major point of contention because OSHA has frequently penalized employers for hazards which did not affect the employers’ own employees. While early court decisions initially rejected OSHA’s imposition of liability in these circumstances, the tide eventually shifted, and now the opposite is true. Today, most courts will impose liability under OSHA’s “Multi-Employer Citation Policy” where the contractor “could reasonably be expected to prevent or detect and abate the violations due to its supervisory authority and control over the worksite.” This is true even where the contractor’s own employees were completely unaffected, or even absent when the hazard occurred.

While the borders of OSHA’s policy are unclear and still developing, contractors should at least suspect they may be held responsible for the safety violations at a jobsite if they either: (1) created the hazard; or (2) exercised some degree of control over the subject worksite. With that in mind, roofing contractors can address this risk preemptively by starting with a plan to mitigate hazards and potential liability on their jobsites.

Identifying Risk

One method of doing so is by creating a Jobsite Hazard Analysis (JHA). According to OSHA, a JHA “is a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur.” By identifying risks, such as exposure of the public and other trades to an active construction site, roofing contractors can implement effective measures to mitigate known hazards.

While planning requirements will vary by jobsite, most roofing contractors’ JHA should address the following questions on this topic:

  • Will non-employees be present at the worksite during active construction? Could they gain access without the company’s knowledge or consent?
  • Can measures be taken to reduce or eliminate access to the worksite by non-employees?
  • What types of hazards could non-employees be exposed to? (e.g.,falling debris)
  • What steps will the company take to reduce or eliminate risks to non-employees?

In addition to addressing these risks in company policies, such as JHAs and a safety manual, it is also prudent to include provisions in the company’s contract which seek to limit exposure of non-employees to hazards. For example, the roofing contractor could include a provision in the contract which forbids the property owner’s employees from using certain entrances to the building during specific phases of construction. Roofing contractors may also seek indemnification from owners for claims of third parties based upon third parties’ failure to comply with contractual requirements. 

Under any circumstances, roofing contractors should take a preemptive approach to hazards, understanding the adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is especially true in their industry. The first step in this process is assessing and appreciating the risks that safety hazards present. The second is implementing proactive safety policies which seek to eliminate or reduce those risks.

About the author: Travis S. McConnell is a construction law attorney with Cotney Construction Law, LLP. McConnell’s legal practice focuses on all aspects of construction law. He works extensively on matters relating to OSHA defense, which includes the management and development of safety and health strategies for construction contractors across the United States. McConnell’s OSHA practice concentrates on litigation and the appeals of citations involving catastrophic construction related accidents. He can be contacted by email at tmcconnell@CotneyCL.com.

New Line of ANSI-Rated Safety Helmets

Protecting workers on the job from potential head injuries is vital to most workforce safety plans. Whether you’re restoring power at great heights or working daily on the construction site, you rely on your safety helmet to keep you safe while on the job. The new line of Ridgeline XR7 Safety Helmets from Pyramex Safety is the company’s latest addition to its trusted Ridgeline series, incorporating expertly designed features like a comfortable breakaway chin strap which secures the hat and offers protection from strangulation should a major fall occur, as well as the ability to attach earmuff and face shield accessories to adapt to the needs of any work environment.

The new Ridgeline XR7 Safety Helmet is constructed of ABS/PC material that’s not only ultra-lightweight, it offers superior strength and increased heat resistance. It’s easy to adjust with a 6-point ratchet suspension system ensuring a personalized fit. A soft four-point PU breakaway chin strap ensures all-day wearing comfort while keeping the helmet securely fastened. Removal is simple with a quick release of the breakaway clip. Easily adjust height and angle options for the suspension, as well as adjust it from 6-1/2 to 8 head size via an easy to grasp knob to help you find the most comfortable position on your head.

The Ridgeline XR7 meets ANSI Z89.1-2014 Type I, Class E and CE EN 397:2012 +A1:2012 safety standards, so wearers can be confident they are well protected while on the job. Safety helmet adapter, earmuff and face shield accessories are also available (sold separately) to customize the Ridgeline XR7 and adapt to individual working conditions. The Ridgeline XR7 is available in a wide variety of colors including: White, Slate Gray, Black Graphite, Yellow, Hi-vis Lime and Blue. Custom imprinting is also available.

For more information, visit www.pyramexsafety.com.

Skylight Fall Protection System

Dynamic Fastener offers fall protection systems for flat and domed skylights. Ideal for R-panel, standing seam, or curb mount skylights, the system utilizes an OSHA-compliant galvanized steel safety screen with a maximum 4-inch-by-4-inch opening. The screen is secured with zinc-coated carbon steel clips and long-life, self-drilling fasteners. All of the required mounting hardware and supports are included in the kit for a complete installation. 

According to the manufacturer, all systems are factory-sized to install quickly. Roof-mounted models maintain a low profile to create a clean and finished look. Curb-mount applications are hidden beneath the domed skylight. The system can be custom painted to match the building’s exterior.

 For more information, visit www.dynamicfastener.com.

Interesting Times

“Stay safe.”

“Take care.”

“Hope you are healthy and safe.”

Work correspondence has taken on a different tone in the last couple of months as events have been overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s touching. People have been so kind in their responses. It puts me in mind of the gruff but friendly desk sergeant in the 1980s TV series “Hill Street Blues,” who would end every pre-shift meeting — no matter how chaotic — with this reminder: “Let’s be careful out there.”

When I emailed safety expert Richard Hawk to thank him for his column in our last issue, he responded, “There is a centuries old Asian saying that is both a blessing and a curse: ‘May you live in interesting times.’ It fits now, huh?” 

It does. The business landscape and most work environments are changing rapidly. In this issue you’ll see case studies and technical columns, as well as several articles geared specifically to coping with the coronavirus pandemic as the roofing industry continues to fulfill its indispensable role in maintaining our infrastructure.

This issue contains advice for employers coping with the fallout of COVID-19 from Benjamin Briggs and Elliot Haney at Cotney Construction Law. You’ll find tips from contractors like Ken Kelly of Kelly Roofing and Steve Little of KPost Roofing & Waterproofing, who had to come up with creative solutions to meet new jobsite regulations and keep business flowing. You’ll also see the story of a roofing manufacturer that found a way to help meet critical shortages of medical personal protective equipment.

Duro-Last CEO Tom Saeli told me how a team of employees at Duro-Last came up with the idea to use the company’s materials and equipment to make medical gowns and masks for area hospitals. He also assured me his company was doing all it could to ensure employees manufactured the equipment safely — including maintaining social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting the plant and equipment, providing masks and face shields, and taking everyone’s temperature.

At Roofing, we are committed to maintaining our role as “the industry’s voice” through our glossy print issue and digital edition, as well as our website and e-newsletter. Tom Saeli noted Duro-Last was sharing its story in the hopes that it would inspire others to help. If you have a story you’d like to share, please let us know.

And hey — let’s be careful out there.

New Utility Tray Accessory for Platform Material Hoist

Safety Hoist Company introduces The Utility Tray XL. Easily installed on the EH-500 and HD-400 hoist models, the newly designed Utility Tray is manufactured for versatility. The pre-assembled tray is a steel fabrication and measures 44 inches wide by 25 inches deep and 12 inches high. The Utility Tray includes two Deck Extenders, which expand the carriage width to 45 inches, allowing greater support for rolled goods. Using the Utility Tray XL, contractors cab safely lift items such as tiles, buckets, tools, HVAC units and other construction materials.

For more information, visit www.safetyhoistcompany.com.

Temporary Anchor Point Is Easy to Install, Won’t Damage Metal Roofs

Metal Plus, LLC introduces the Universal Safety Anchor (USA), a temporary anchor point with a unique hinge-system designed to accommodate most panels without any loose components. According to the manufacturer, the Universal Safety Anchor is easy to install: just open, close, and torque. It requires no adjusting of set screws.

The patented Universal Safety Anchor was designed to eliminate problems including damage to metal panels from set screws, rusting of panels when anchor points are removed, and voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

For more information, visit www.metalplusllc.com.

Rebar Chain Assembly Allows Hands-Free Repositioning at Heights

Malta Dynamics introduces its 24-inch rebar chain assembly positioning device. The device is designed to allow workers to reposition themselves hands-free while elevated off the ground. It is ideal for applications on rebar structures, allowing workers to lean away from the wall and position themselves safely and easily while keeping their hands free to work. 

According to the manufacturer, the rebar chain assembly meets or exceeds the fall protection and testing standards laid out by ANSI Z359.3-17, ANSI A10.32-12, OSHA 1926 Subpart M, and OSHA 1910. Workers must still be connected to a fall arrest device when using this product, which is designed without shock absorbers. It is designed to be used in conjunction with a full-body harness, attaching to side D-Rings via both snap hooks and attaching the rebar hook to the rebar structure.

The 24-inch rebar chain assembly features a swiveling rebar hook and durable twist-link chain construction that allows for maximum mobility and strength. These units are designed with durability and strength in mind and have a maximum weight capacity of 310 pounds. They are lightweight and adjustable, making them convenient and easy to use on the jobsite.

“We manufacture products that we ourselves benefit from using every day in our masonry and construction businesses,” said Damian Lang, owner and CEO of Malta Dynamics. “We’re excited to offer our customers a high-quality, affordable tool that delivers maximum safety, mobility, and comfort when working on rebar structures.”

For more information, visit www.maltadynamics.com.

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.