Safety partners talk steep-slope roofing


Falling. It’s still one of the biggest risks for people who work on steep slope roofs. WorkSafeBC reports that 117 workers fell from roofs in 2008 to 2010 and on average each of these claims cost $44,518 and resulted in 166 days of lost time.

That’s why the Roofing Contractors Association of BC and its partners – WorkSafeBC, the BC Construction Safety Alliance, Hazmasters, and Ono Work and Safety – hosted a unique one-day symposium on March 29 for people in the steep-slope roofing industry.

To find out more, I got in touch with HazMasters sales manager Derek Malone, who I met at the Bridging the Gap conference last fall.

“Unique to this symposium is the practical training area at RCABC. While many shows and symposiums are held in hotels this one actually has mock roof tops and a large outdoor area,” Derek said, describing the fall protection systems Hazmasters installed and set up.

“These are temporarily installed on mock roofs that are slightly elevated, allowing for the delegates to touch and see the equipment – like the three-person fall protection system that attaches to the peak of a roof. It installs in minutes and provides anchorage for three workers,” he said.

Find the flaw

Derek said each delegate will perform a hands-on inspection of a harness – some with catastrophic flaws, some with minor flaws, and some ready to use.

“Capital Safety is performing drop tests for the group to show how much force a typical fall can produce,” he said. “Then, to show how much of this force can be absorbed by our modern fall protection systems, like the NANO. Delegates will see how a reduction of 1000 pounds is now achievable with today’s systems.”

I also talked with Roger Sové, the BCRSA’s safety coordinator, who told me more about what delegates would get for their $25 registration fee.

“They will get a better understanding of what their responsibilities are and how they can make safety part of what they do,” he said. “It will enhance their understanding as to why they should work in a safe manner when they hear from other roofers about the consequences of not using proper fall protection systems when they are required. They will have an opportunity to discuss actual fall protection planning and strategy with safety professionals, which will help them to make better decisions on how to work within the regulations and in turn create a safer workplace.”

Thanks to Derek and Roger for telling me more – and congrats on selling out the event.

More fall protection resources

Fall Protection (6-Part Video) from WorkSafeBC

An Introduction to Personal Fall Protection from WorkSafeBC

Fall Protection – Top plate best practice from the BC Construction Safety Alliance

Fall protection pocket card from HazMasters

Accident Alert – Falls from Heights in Construction from WorkSafeBC

High Time – a WorkSafe Magazine story on steep slope roofing from Jul/Aug 2011


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