2016 National Roofing Week Is a Success

As part of National Roofing Week, Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association members celebrated their industry pride in unique ways. The following images were shared via NRCA’s Facebook page:

NRCA Roofing Contractor Members Receive Free Consulting Services

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) announces it is now providing consulting services at no charge to its roofing contractor members.

NRCA’s Consulting Services is a benefit of membership that enables contractors to get tips and advice on current business issues, discuss business strategies or issues with consultants in the following areas.

•Legal— Roofing contractor members can obtain information about general legal issues encountered in daily business.

•Marketing— Assistance with current marketing plans is provided, as well as strategies for increasing homeowner and business owner sales and profitability.

•Information Technology— IT strategies for improving and streamlining operations for maximum business performance.

•Human Resources— Solutions to human resources related issues including federal or state employment law, employee relations and human resource management.

•Enterprise Risk Management— Advice about health, safety, insurance, legislative and regulatory issues, or learn more about loss control and regulatory compliance responsibilities.

•Technical— Solutions to technical questions including proper installation, maintenance or repair of various roof systems, or advice on a specific project.

How to Prevent Heat Illness in Roofing Workers

Here in the northeastern U.S., the leaves are turning green, birds are singing and the weather is pleasant. Soon, summer will arrive and this nice weather will turn into excruciatingly high heat and humidity. High heat along with high humidity are some of the major causes of fatalities for workers during the hot summer months. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration, between 2008-12, nine roofers died from heat-related illnesses and accidents in the US. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, occurs in hot humid environments. It is caused by sweat not being allowed to evaporate from the skin. It usually occurs in areas of the body where the skin contacts clothing or other skin. Sweat ducts become plugged, resulting in skin rash. Heat rash is more of an annoyance than an illness. The signs and symptoms are usually a painful red rash aggravated by heat, humidity and skin contact. Heat rash, which is often accompanied by infection, is mostly prevented by cleanliness and personal hygiene. The best treatment is to leave hot, humid work environments; allow skin to dry; and bathe regularly. Sometimes baby powder or topical ointments can help.

Heat cramps usually affect workers who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels. Water loss affects the capability of the body to sweat and, therefore, regulate body temperature. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps. Sometimes these cramps occur after work hours when the employee is resting because the worker did not replenish fluids after finishing the day’s work. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Atlanta, symptoms of heat cramps are a severe rapid muscle tightening accompanied by pain and spasms usually in the abdomen, arms or legs. Workers with heat cramps should stop all activity and sit in a cool, shady place; drink clear juice or a sports beverage; seek medical attention if the worker has heart problems, is on a low-sodium diet or the cramps do not subside within one hour. Do not return the effected employee to strenuous work for a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat syncope is fainting. Syncope usually occurs after prolonged standing or sudden rising from a sitting or lying position. Factors that may contribute to heat syncope include dehydration and lack of acclimatization. Symptoms associated with heat syncope include light-headedness and dizziness. Workers with heat syncope should sit or lie down in a cool place when they begin to feel symptoms. They should slowly drink water; clear fruit juice, like pineapple juice; or a sports beverage.

Heat exhaustion is the most common serious heat-related illness and is often referred to as heat prostration or heat collapse. If large amounts of fluid are sweated out and/or you’ve been sick, you will be predisposed to this level of heat illness. Signs and symptoms include continued sweating; cool, clammy, pale, and/or gray skin; temperature normal or slightly elevated; weak rapid pulse; dizziness, weakness and fatigue; and uncoordinated actions. Heat exhaustion, which is accompanied by nausea and headache, often leads to unconsciousness. Immediately remove a worker displaying signs of heat exhaustion from the hot environment and have him or her drink plenty of fluids and rest in a cool place. Untreated heat exhaustion cases may lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the least common but most severe heat illness. If left un- treated, heat stroke can lead to death. The signs and symptoms of heat stroke include an elevated body temperature of 105 F or more. The skin of the victim will usually be hot, dry, flushed and red. There is the possibility that the victim will suffer convulsions. The victim will no longer be sweating adequately and may be confused or become unconscious Immediately call for medical assistance. Victims of heat stroke must be immediately removed from the hot environment. Cool him or her down with tepid compresses on the forehead, neck, groin and underarms—areas where blood flow is close to the surface. The cooler blood immediately spreads to the core. DO NOT USE ice water because the sudden change in temperature may result in shock. Begin fanning the victim with whatever is available: clothes, cardboard, etc. Heat-stroke victims will need medical attention; the aforementioned first-aid measures are life-saving tactics to be taken before the worker is transported to a medical facility.

OSHA also says the best way to stay cool when working in hot environments is to be acclimatized to the heat. Workers who start working in April when the temperatures are cooler and slowly acclimatize fare better when the thermometer climbs into the higher numbers. In addition, wearing a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat will keep the sun off workers’ faces and heads. Also, light-colored, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts slow the effects of the hot sun on the body. The days of working shirtless in the hot sun are over. Not only can sun exposure cause skin cancer and dehydrate a person, it also ages the skin rapidly. Cotton is an ideal fabric to wear to slowly wick away sweat, allowing the body to cool naturally. There are also many new synthetic cooling materials on the market to help keep workers cool
in the hot weather.

Staying well hydrated is mandatory in hot weather. Workers may not be thirsty, but they must continue to drink water, juices or sports drinks every 15 minutes. They should not drink alcohol or caffeinated products. Coffee, tea and alcohol can help dehydrate a worker in the heat. A rule of thumb is to have workers check their urine. If they are not urinating, they need to drink more, and if their urine is dark it is a sign there is not enough water in their system.

Remember working in the heat of summer can be very dangerous. We must protect ourselves, our employees and our coworkers from heat-related illnesses. Watch out for each other out there; remember, “We are our brothers’ keepers.”

Learn More

For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the following websites:
CDC.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/
OSHA.gov/SLTC/heatillness/edresources.html

Fixed Railing System Provides Fall Protection Around Roof Hatches

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings.

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings.

The BILCO Co. has introduced its BIL-Guard 2.0, which, like its predecessor, is a fixed railing system that provides a permanent means of fall protection around roof-hatch openings. The new model boasts aluminum construction for increased strength and rigidity, a redesigned self-closing hinge and positive latching system, and stainless-steel hardware throughout. The product is available in mill-finish aluminum and with a safety-yellow powder-coat paint finish. Compliant with OSHA fall-protection standards, the BIL-Guard 2.0 features a mounting system that does not penetrate the roof membrane.

NRCA Addresses OSHA’s Final Rule Governing Workplace Exposure to Crystalline Silica

William A. Good, CAE, vice president of NRCA, states: “Based on our initial review, NRCA has serious concerns regarding OSHA’s new silica regulation. First and foremost, we are concerned the final regulation significantly will increase fall hazards for roofing workers by requiring contractors to implement engineering controls that are not suited to work performed on sloped roofs. We are also concerned the rule will add significant new compliance costs for contractors that OSHA continues to seriously underestimate. Although we continue to have serious concerns, we appreciate OSHA made modest improvements in the final rule in response to concerns we articulated in testimony on the regulation as originally proposed.

“NRCA submitted detailed comments to OSHA in response to the initial proposed regulation released in 2013 and also testified at a hearing on the proposal in April 2014. Additionally, NRCA representatives met with officials in the Office of Management and Budget in February 2016 to reiterate these concerns as the final silica regulation underwent its final review.

“When it becomes effective for the construction industry in June of 2017, OSHA’s final silica regulation will dramatically reduce the permissible exposure level [PEL] for silica in construction workplaces to 50 micrograms per cubic meter (from the current 250) and will establish an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter. To meet these much lower levels, new engineering controls will become necessary to ensure compliance. With respect to roofing work, this likely will require workers who face even minimal amounts of exposure to silica dust to use wet cutting methods and dust masks.

“NRCA is most concerned the new requirements will increase the risk of falls for roofing workers. Under the new rule, workers in many cases will have to use wet saws on the rooftop, introducing new hazards, such as slipping on wet surfaces and tripping on hoses. We call on OSHA to work cooperatively with us to identify implementation strategies that protect workers from the new fall hazards created by the rule.

“Despite some improvements in the final rule, NRCA continues to be concerned compliance with the regulation may not always be technologically feasible and will cause much uncertainty for employers. For example, some commercial laboratories have indicated they are not capable of measuring workplace silica levels with accuracy or consistency at such low levels.

“NRCA leadership and staff will continue reviewing the 1,772-page final rule issued March 25 to determine and analyze the potential effects on the roofing industry and will provide further information and guidance for members in the future.”

Prefabricated Edge Metal Helps Shape Unique Roofs on a Georgia Hospital

To expand its services and make it easier for patients and visitors to navigate its facility, Gordon Hospital, Calhoun, Ga., underwent a $37 million expansion. The project added 59,000 square feet of hospital space, renovated 11,500 square feet of space, and created a new patient tower entrance to separate inpatient and outpatient service entrances. The various aspects of the project included 11 different roof areas, so the project’s general contractor, the Atlanta office of Birmingham, Ala.-based Brasfield & Gorrie, brought Atlanta’s Diamond Roofing Co. into the project during concept design.

The architects designed all the curves and unique walls to make the campus beyond ordinary and give the hospital a certain appeal.

The architects designed all the curves and unique walls to make the campus beyond ordinary and give the hospital a certain appeal.

“The hospital addition and renovation was still just a sketch and a narrative, and we worked together to understand the owner’s needs and architect’s intent,” says Dave Mossige, Diamond Roofing’s president. “Roofing systems have be- come very complex over the years and it really does take a roofing specialist to navigate the numerous options and decide the best roofing systems for the project.”

Having the roofing contractor onboard from inception also helped with staging. When it became apparent that two canopies between the new and existing buildings would pose significant challenges with materials’ access, the team was able to plan ahead and stock-pile materials near the area months pri- or to needing them.

GETTING THINGS LEVEL

Because this was a fast-track project, 10 to 15 crew members worked across multiple roof areas. “All the other trades come in behind us once we have the roof ready, so getting the roof area dried-in was key to the schedule,” Mossige says. “That’s why we chose a more durable two-ply modified bitumen rather than a single-ply system for the roofing. Disturbances that happened to the base while the trades were working off the roofs could be quickly and easily repaired before we applied the cap sheet.”

The roofing areas added up to 25,400 square feet of space, including the main roof, penthouse and various other canopies. The main roof on the new addition was unique because it was divided into two portions: one with a steel deck and another with a concrete deck for future vertical expansion. The concrete deck was 5-inches higher than the steel deck.

To make the steel deck meet the thickness of the adjacent concrete deck for a level roof, Diamond Roofing’s team mechanically fastened 5 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation on the steel and then installed a 1/4-inch-per-foot-total tapered ISO system. The team then applied a cover board to increase the system’s wind rating and provide better adhesion of the base ply. The tapered system and cover board were set in ribbons of low-rise foam adhesive. The next layer was an SBS modified bitumen as a cold-process adhesive and then a fire-rated granular cap sheet, also set in a cold-process adhesive.

Although Diamond Roofing has a sheet-metal shop in which team members fabricate edge metal, it worked with a supplier to source prefabricated edge metal that had been formally tested to meet or exceed the hospital's required FM 1-105 criterion.

Although Diamond Roofing has a sheet-metal shop in which team members fabricate edge metal, it worked with a supplier to source prefabricated edge metal that had been formally tested to meet or exceed the hospital’s required FM 1-105 criterion.

PRECISE EDGE METAL

Although Diamond Roofing has a sheet-metal shop in which team members fabricate edge metal, most of the roofing firm’s product is equivalent to a wind rating of FM 1-60 and FM 1-90. FM approval ratings apply to uplift pressures in pounds per square foot. Hospitals are constructed to stricter standards, however, and officials at Gordon Hospital wanted to ensure an FM 1-105 approval rating. Diamond Roofing worked with a supplier to source prefabricated edge metal that had been formally tested to meet or exceed the FM 1-105 criterion.

The ability to order the sheer volume of edge metal needed also saved time on the project. “We had over 2,500 lineal feet of edge metal on this project. That would’ve taken us three weeks to fabricate,” Mossige explains. “In addition, the highly unique specifications of the edge metal needed for the project made it more cost-effective for us to outsource it.”

The edge metal needed to be a heavy gauge of 0.063 prefinished aluminum with a protective Kynar 500 resin-based coating. The architects also wanted welded mitered corners. In certain places on the roofs, unusual radiuses and slopes—occasionally joining with straight coping at offset angles—meant some inside and outside miters had to be exactingly produced for odd angles like 104 and 140 degrees.

For example, on one parapet, two different elevations come together at a corner, making precision critical for the manufacturer and installer. “When you are dealing with preformed metal, you have to be precise,” Mossige notes, “but when you’re doing a raised, offset miter, you have to be perfect.”

PHOTOS: OMG EDGESYSTEMS

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Safety Week Seeks to Raise Awareness at Job Sites

More than 50 national and global construction firms have joined forces for the annual Safety Week, a construction industry-wide education and awareness event. Safety Week 2016 will be held May 2-6 to align with what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal agencies have set as the National Safety Stand-Down focusing on fall prevention on the job.

Safety Week is an opportunity for people and companies—even competitors—to work together and rally around a common cause. During Safety Week, construction companies will take the opportunity to thank their employees for the commitment to safety and work to educate, inspire and share best practices. Many companies will conduct on-site safety awareness activities.

“Ask anyone in construction and they will tell you that safety is the No. 1 priority—it crosses competitive boundaries and ties us all together,” says Ross Myers, CEO, Allan Myers and Safety Week co-chair.

“That is the reason we’ve chosen Safety Ties as our theme this year, because the commitment to safety is strongest when it’s woven into the culture of our work and is a visible part of our everyday routines and processes. For workers on a job site, this starts with the individual. Every day, each person needs to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those around them.”

To symbolize Safety Ties, participating companies will launch social media campaigns around photos of bootlaces as a visible homage to Safety Week.

Three major U.S. construction sites will host ceremonial events during which the laces and a “ribbon tying” will be used as powerful emblems of safety.

Job sites include:

  • The New NY Bridge (replacing the Tappan Zee), Tarrytown, N.Y. – featuring eight general traffic lanes, cashless tolling, and a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • The Crenshaw/LAX Transit project, Los Angeles – an 8.5-mile light-rail line, with eight stations, serving the Crenshaw District, Inglewood, Westchester and surrounding area.
  • The 35Express Project, Dallas, Texas – a $1.4 billion expansion of Interstate 35E between U.S. Highway 380 in Denton County and I-­635 in Dallas County extending approximately 30 miles, through nine cities and two counties to relieve traffic congestion. AGL Constructors, a joint venture between Archer Western Contractors LLC, Granite Construction Inc. and the Lane Construction Corp., in partnership with the design team of Parsons and HDR Inc., manages construction of the 35Express Project for the Texas Department of Transportation. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2017.

At these events, guest speakers and project executives will speak about the status of their projects and the importance of and unifying nature of safety.

“A culture of safety starts at the CEO’s office and I applaud all the corporate executives who focus on safety as their essential product,” says LA Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “The end users of these great transportation projects understand that by caring for the safety of workers, we also care about the quality and safety of the entire system.”

Additionally, Safety Week activations will be held at many other job sites across the country.

NRCA and United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Jointly Support National Safety Stand-Down, May 2-6

The following is a joint statement attributable to William Good, CEO of the National Roofing Contractors Association, and Kinsey M. Robinson, international president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers:

“On behalf of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers (UURWAW) and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), we are pleased to continue our annual support for the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, organized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), taking place throughout the U.S. from May 2-6, 2016.

“The latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show 69 workers in the roofing industry died in 2014 from falls that occurred as they were doing their jobs. Those numbers reflect 69 families that have been changed forever by the loss of a loved one—a spouse, father, mother, son or daughter whose death has left a void in the hearts of family and friends.

“The National Safety Stand-Down is an effort to focus company and worker attention on the significance of fall hazards in construction and emphasize the importance of effectively implementing fall-protection systems on every project. NRCA and UURWAW encourage their members and all involved in the roofing industry to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down by delivering focused fall-protection awareness toolbox talks at the start of each day during that week and throughout the year.

“NRCA’s Toolbox Talks regarding personal fall-arrest systems, skylight and roof openings, warning-line systems and ladder safety can be found by clicking here. In addition, NRCA and OSHA will co-host a webinar about roofing fall protection Monday, May 2.

Special materials developed by UURWAW about fall protection can be accessed online, as well.

“Let’s pledge to continue the efforts to increase awareness of fall hazards, not just that week but throughout the year so all workers are safe performing the critical, quality work they do and are able to go home to their families each day!”

Keep Job Sites Safe with Hard Hat Tethers and Lanyard Systems

Hammerhead Industries introduces its  line of hard hat tethers and lanyard systems.

Hammerhead Industries introduces its line of hard hat tethers and lanyard systems.

Dropped from aloft, a hard hat is a 1-pound unguided missile that endangers the entire work site. It’s an accident that can be virtually eliminated with Hammerhead Industries’ line of hard hat tethers and lanyard systems.

In the unfortunate event of a fall, a fall-arrest harness protects the worker, but as his hard hat continues its descent, a fall-arrest harness won’t protect the worksite. Designed for use with all fall-protection harness systems, the RT5-5601 and RT5-5602 Hard Hat Retractable Tethering Systems are weight-tested to safely secure all commonly used industrial hard hats. The main difference is how each attaches to the worker.

The RT5-5601 is easily attached with Velcro strap loops and cinches around the fall protection harness strap, ring or tri-bar while the RT5-5602 employs a threaded stud that securely attaches to a garment with structure such as coveralls or vest. The RT5-5601 and RTS-5602 use a sturdy, industrial-grade spectra/nylon line that extends up to 14 inches. For additional safety, they both feature a gentle 2.5-ounce retraction force that takes up any unused slack to avoid entanglement by keeping the lanyard close to the body.

When workers are ready to call it a day, Gear Keeper’s patented Quick Connect System allows the hard hat to be easily disconnected without completely removing the lanyard’s base. The third product in the Gear Keeper Hard Hat line is the cost-effective standard Hard Hat lanyard TL1-5001. The 20-inch loop mount uses a spring clip that attaches to a garment with structure, such as coveralls or vest.

OSHA vs. State Rules: Residential Fall Protection

The Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration has demanded some states that administer their own occupational safety and health agencies and enforce state-specific workplace rules adopt federal provisions related to residential fall protection. California, Kentucky, Oregon and Washington are four such states with provisions for residential fall protection that differ from federal OSHA’s. One of the federal requirements is that fall protection is required in roofing work at heights of 6 feet or greater. OSHA has singled out this requirement as one that the states must meet or OSHA will take over enforcement of all construction workplace rules.

Government statistics indicate state plan states that use a risk-based approach, where roof height is one of many factors considered when developing regulations, generally experience lower worker death and injury rates than comparable federal states.

The recent release of initial workplace fatality numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, for 2014 has again brought the issue to the forefront and prompted the following Jan. 29, 2016, response from NRCA CEO William A. Good to Dean McKenzie, OSHA’s acting director of construction.

Dear Mr. McKenzie:

We are, of course, incredibly disappointed that you choose to carry on with your plan to impose federal rules, developed over the objections of the roofing industry, on states that have had considerable success with their own fall protection regulations. Those regulations have been developed, for the most part, with the ac- tive involvement of health and safety agencies, management and labor in the affected states. What’s more, in most of the states you cite as being deficient in meeting the federal “effectiveness” standard, the rate of accidents and fatalities from falls in construction is consistently better than it is in comparable states under federal OSHA’s jurisdiction.

And what’s even more incredible is that since federal OSHA unilaterally changed the rules for residential fall protection, the number of fatal falls has actually increased. OSHA’s promise that the cancellation of STD 3.1 in 2010 would make roofing workers safer has delivered the opposite result with 61 roofing workers killed by falls in 2012, 66 in 2013 and 69 in 2014. And yet OSHA marches on, unaffected by the facts.

How you can consistently ignore the data and instead rely on a vague definition of “effectiveness” is frankly beyond me, and makes absolutely no sense. It seems to me that an effective safety standard is one that actually works to protect workers from falls, rather than one that meets certain regulatory language.

In your letter you cite “standards that permit, for example, certain work to be performed at heights of 15 to 20 feet without positive fall protection.” As we have argued previously, the height of the roof is not the only issue that needs to be considered for effective fall protection. Rather, job-specific fall-protection assessment should take into account the type of building, the slope of the roof and the type of roofing materials being installed. This strikes me as being remarkably similar to the approach to safety Dr. Michaels, among others, has long advocated, but this approach is missing from OSHA’s heavy-handed efforts to impose federal rules on states.

In addition, if height were indeed the only issue, then perhaps you can explain why certain scaffolding operations are allowed up to 10 feet without fall protection, and why certain steel erection activities are allowed up to 30 feet without fall protection. And perhaps you can also explain why, over the period from 2010 to 2013, Texas had an average fatal construction fatality rate of 11.63, while California’s was 5.95.

The tragedy, of course, is that this isn’t just an academic conversation. Lives are at stake, and more are being lost in those states OSHA is responsible for than in those that have developed workable and, yes, effective, regulations.

I understand you choose not to meet with us to discuss this further. While I’m not surprised, I am left to wonder what is reasonably to be done to make roofing jobs safer. OSHA’s approach has made things worse, and you seem intent on just doing more of the same.

Sincerely,
William A. Good, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
National Roofing Contractors Association