OSHA Extends Compliance Date for Electronically Submitting Injury, Illness Reports to Dec. 15

To allow affected employers additional time to become familiar with a new electronic reporting system launched on Aug. 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the date by which employers must electronically report injury and illness data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to Dec. 15, 2017.

OSHA’s final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses sets Dec. 15, 2017, as the date for compliance (a two-week extension from the Dec. 1, 2017, compliance date in the proposed rule). The rule requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information they are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations.

Unless an employer is under federal jurisdiction, the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically: California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Establishments in these states are not currently required to submit their summary data through the ITA. Similarly, state and local government establishments in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and New York are not currently required to submit their data through the ITA.

OSHA is currently reviewing the other provisions of its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider, revise, or remove portions of that rule in 2018.

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 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.

Keep Guidelines Up to Date and Make Safety Part of Your Company Culture

Safety is a consideration in any type of work, whether in the office, a warehouse or outside. There are many concerns, including personal well-being, liability, regulation, public relations and cost-benefit analysis to keep in mind.

There is nothing more important than safety. Every employee wants to go home at the end of the day uninjured. Injuries inhibit the ability to perform work effectively, affecting both the employer and employee. Fatalities have a permanent impact.

Roofing is a category of special concern, due to height and fall injury potential for both sales and production personnel. There are two primary areas of concern: ladder safety and fall hazards. According to a study by the Center for Construction Research and Training titled “Fatal Falls From Roofs Among U.S. Construction Workers,” fatal falls from roofs accounted for one-third of all fall-related construction fatalities during the time period 1992-2009. In its findings, the study found that employers with 10 or fewer employees had a disproportionate number of fatal falls, and that Hispanic workers were a disproportionate number of those fatalities. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show that roofing workers are three times more likely to be fatally injured as a result of a fall than other construction industry employees.

In an effort to minimize the potential for injury or fatality, the government has instituted various regulations, which are enforced primarily by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Mandatory roof safety guidelines are an effort to steer the industry towards safer roofing practices.

Implementing Safety Practices That Align With Company Culture

The key components to have in mind are establishing guidelines, training, availability of effective safety equipment, and implementation of procedures that result in a safer work environment. The government, particularly OSHA, has developed guidelines intended to create a safer work environment. Training programs are readily available which interpret the OSHA standards and show how they can be practically implemented, and manufacturers have developed equipment designed to improve worker safety, including new types of ladders, safety harnesses, warning barriers, etc.

None of the above is likely to improve roof safety without a willingness on the part of the employer to mandate utilization of safe roofing practices and incorporate into daily operations a culture of safety.

Proper Safety Training Must Be Practiced Consistently

Employees need to be trained how to safely do their work, they must be provided the tools and equipment which enable them to work safely, and they must be encouraged to implement safe working practices to minimize the chance for injury. With proper training and availability of the proper tools and equipment, safe operations become a matter of “common sense.” Educated workers realize the value of the implementation of safe roofing practices and hence are more likely to incorporate them in their daily work.

Keep Safety Eco-Friendly

Safety is not only a physical issue, it is also an economic issue. As an incentive to incorporate safe practices in daily operations, many workers’ compensation providers offer financial incentives in the form of lower rates, rebates and dividends for lower claims history. This adds to profitability. Realizing the economic benefits of decreased liability exposure due to safe operating practices, many insurance providers offer training programs for free to their policyholders. Costs of development have been paid by the insurer, yet the policyholder benefits in the form of structured training being made available to employees at little or no direct cost. This can be a win-win solution to the question of how to develop and implement an effective safety-training program. Even more beneficial, the programs have been developed by experts in the area of risk mitigation, who have an incentive to find cost-effective means to practically incorporate safe practices into the daily roofing operations environment.

Safety Influences Profitability and Success

Employers who orient their company toward safe roofing practices seem more likely to profitably grow their business. Yes, there is a cost to train employees and implement safe roofing practices, but this is more than offset by the additional benefits to be gained by having available a properly trained workforce with a culture for safety. The availability of well-trained employees enables work to progress effectively, providing greater likelihood of profits. Safe and uninjured employees are less likely to pose a legal risk. Lower claims result in lower insurance costs, which directly affects the bottom line.

Keeping safety guidelines up to date is essential. Employee safety must be an integral part of the company culture. Gathering safety updates via e-mail from government websites allow companies to structure employee training programs and updates to the internal safety procedures. This will enable a company to effectively manage in-house safety programs. When companies have an excellent safety record, there are multiple benefits. A company’s e-mod will continue to move downwards, thereby reducing workers’ compensation costs while helping to ensure employees are able to return home safely each night to be with their families.

Retain Loyal Customers

Customers tend to notice poor safety practices implemented by the employees of their roofer. Along with liability risk, this creates a public relations issue. Not addressing customer concerns can result in loss of customers. Why would a customer continue to contract with a company that obviously disregards the safety of its employees? In the current culture, with its emphasis on the individual, safety is an important area of consideration for any employer wishing to profitably expand.

Steep-Slope Projects: Risks, Considerations and Best Practices for Contractors

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Many contractors treat residential roofing as routine. However, whether a re-roof or new construction, each project can be infinitely complex and should be addressed as such by always accounting for weather and safety issues, as well as proper installation and customer service.

One of the most prominent and popular elements of residential architecture is a steep-slope roof. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), steep-slope roofs have slopes greater than 4:12 and range from 18.5 degrees to 45 degrees or more. While the process of installing a roof with these angles isn’t necessarily much different from a low-slope roof, it can pose more risks and considerations for workers.

Weather Woes

Weather plays an important role in every roofing project, but staying on top of potential issues from Mother Nature is especially crucial during steep-slope jobs.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

In high temperatures, workers may fall victim to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke or worse. The best way to beat the heat is to start early and get as much done as possible before the temperature peaks. Starting early in the summer—specifically in the South—can allow work to be completed before daily rain showers roll in. Proper hydration and attire are also important.

Cold temperatures can create even more complications because some manufacturers advise against installing their products in weather below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and certain equipment is susceptible to freezing. Furthermore, workers have to pay extra attention to the grip of their shoes to avoid slipping and falling. Not to mention, freezing-cold hands and feet may cause an otherwise adept worker to become clumsy. Wearing the proper clothing is key during cold-weather jobs, and workers should be advised to keep an eye out for the first signs of frostbite, including cold skin, redness, tingling and numbness.

Safety Considerations

In 2015, falls were the leading cause of private-sector work deaths in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of worker fatalities, according to OSHA. In addition, OSHA reports nearly 90 percent of fatal falls happen due to the lack of a fall-protection system.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

When working on a roof slope greater than 4/12, OSHA requires additional safety measures, which include either a guardrail system with toeboards, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems. Yet, many contractors—especially residential roofers—choose to forgo protective devices because they feel they are not feasible or create a greater hazard. In such cases, OSHA does allow the use of alternative fall-protection methods in residential construction, as long as contractors develop a written, job-specific fall-protection plan that complies with OSHA regulations.

Proper Installation

During the installation process, roofers should keep a few things in mind whether they’re applying shingles to a steep-slope or low-slope structure.

  • Valleys
Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Valleys are a critical part of proper roof installation because they experience the most water flow during rainstorms and can be potential leak points.

In an open valley, a piece of aluminum, copper or other type of metal is used to help keep rainwater flowing off the roof. Open valleys are often used when a homeowner wants a showier look, such as on a Colonial-style home.

Closed valleys—the most common valley installation method—use asphalt shingles and offer a more traditional look. When properly installed, they keep water from getting trapped in the valley and allow for proper drainage.

In addition to open and closed valleys, contractors also have the option to create a weave valley, which alternates shingles through the valley from both sides, creating a braid-like effect.

Laminate/architectural shingles should not be used for weave valleys. Because laminate shingles aren’t one-dimensional, they do not create the flat surface needed for a weave valley, which should only be used with three-tab shingles.

When using laminate shingles, be sure to follow instructions on the wrapper for either an open or closed application.

Contractors also need to be extremely careful around obstacles such as chimneys and skylights, which require their own flashing and water divergence methods. For instance, more flashing may be needed in these areas to divert water and prevent leaks.

  • Starter Shingles

Starter shingles allow the first course of shingles to properly seal down, protecting the edge of the roof and providing anchoring power for high-wind resistance at the critical eave and rake areas. They further protect the roof by filling in spaces under the cutouts and edges for the first course of exposed shingles, preventing wind uplift.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

The most common mistake when installing starter shingles or modifying traditional three-tab shingles is putting them on backward or upside-down.

Additionally, the overhang should be no more than three-quarters of an inch to prevent wind from penetrating beneath shingles, as well as to keep shingles from curling or cracking.

In addition, many manufacturers caution against double-stacking pallets of starter shingles, which can cause the bottom shingles to warp. Be sure to read all storage and handling instructions prior to installation.

  • Underlayment

Underlayment is an important part of the roofing process and is required by code for residential properties to meet Class A fire requirements. Serving as a secondary barrier, underlayment protects rakes, eaves and critical flashings from water infiltration. Most warranties also require underlayment for the roof to be ASTM compliant. However, some contractors still opt not to use it because they want to save time on a project or their customer balks at the cost.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Another frequent error during underlayment installation is incorrect overlaps. On low-slope roofs (slopes between 2:12 and 4:12), underlayment should have double coverage. And while traditional installation is fine on steep-slope roofs, always follow manufacturer instructions for overlaps from course to course.

Last but not least, be sure to keep underlayment from wrinkling, which can cause ripples in the shingles. While trying to keep underlayment as flat as possible, avoid pulling it too tight because it has a natural expansion and contraction. If underlayment gets wet, be sure it adequately dries out before continuing the installation process.

  • Shingles and Nails

Shingles should be installed with the manufacturer’s recommended offset, which will help prevent leak points and also properly align the shingles across the roof. Once all of the shingles are aligned, only the shingles themselves should be exposed—not the nails.

Because the common bond area is the strongest part of a shingle, manufacturers require nails be placed there to achieve the advertised wind performance. Nails should not be too high or too low, or unevenly spaced. If nails aren’t positioned correctly, the manufacturer’s wind warranty may not be valid.

Customer Service Follow-Up

Providing excellent customer service is key to every roofing job. Homeowners who have a good experience are more likely to share positive reviews and opinions.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Before starting a steep-slope project, be sure to discuss the entire process with homeowners to ensure that they know what to expect, as well as the types of warranties they will receive with their new roof. In addition, prepare the surrounding property, such as windows and landscaping, to prevent damage during the installation process.

During the job, be sure workers are vigilant about not dropping nails anywhere on the jobsite. After the job, walk the property with the homeowners to ensure all debris and materials were cleaned up; magnets can be used to double-check for stray nails. If the homeowners are happy with the finished product and their experience, don’t be afraid to ask them to write a nice review on the company website, Angie’s List, Yelp or other customer referral app.

Most of the best practices for steep-slope roofing can be applied to any type of roofing project. However, steep-slope work can pose additional challenges that other projects may not. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions and OSHA guidelines on all roofing jobs, but especially on steep-slope projects, when one minor slip could turn into major consequences for all involved.

 

NRCA Offers Pocket-Sized Safety Guide

The National Roofing Contractors Association offers the NRCA Pocket Guide to Safety. The publication includes the most current Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements and safe work practices related to fall protection; electrical hazards; heat illnesses; personal protective equipment; and fire prevention.

The 125-page, pocket-sized, spiral-bound guide is intended for use by laborers, mechanics, foremen and others on job sites. A Spanish-language version also is available.

The member price for NRCA Pocket Guide to Safety is $9, and the retail price is $18; discount pricing is offered for purchasing multiple quantities. For more information and to purchase the guide, click here or call NRCA’s Customer Service Department at (866) 275-6722.

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.

RCMA Recognizes OSHA Inaugural Safe and Sound Week

To show its commitment to safety and health programs, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) recognizes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) inaugural Safe + Sound Week.
 
OSHA Safe and Sound Week takes place June 12-18, 2017, and encourages organizations to hold events that center around three core elements: Management Leadership, Worker Participation, and Finding and Fixing Hazards. Safe and sound events have been scheduled across the country by a variety of different organizations.
 
Safety and Health programs are essential because they can prevent workplace hazards. Identifying potential sources of injuries or illnesses and establishing procedures to fix them helps ensure the safety and health of workers and improves sustainability in the workplace.
 
It is important to engage workers across all levels of the workplace in order to increase the flow of knowledge and communication across management sectors.
 
“Sound Week represents a nationwide effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, encourage worker participation, and employ a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in the workplace before someone is injured,” says RCMA Executive Director Matt Coffindaffer. “RCMA and its members value workforce safety and welcome this opportunity to collaborate with OSHA and the other sponsors of Safe + Sound Week.”
 
All participants can promote their commitment by using the hashtag #SafeAndSound on social media. Participants are also encouraged to share photos from Safe + Sound events, certificates of recognition, or their own injury and hazard prevention efforts.
 
For a list of Safe + Sound Week events around the country and to learn more about OSHA’s commitment to a safe workplace and sound business, please visit here.

RCMA Supports Campaign to Prevent Fall Fatalities and Injuries

To increase awareness of construction fatalities caused by falls from elevation, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) recognizes and supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) awareness campaign to prevent fall fatalities and injuries.
 
Falls from elevation are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and labor statistics indicate that the number of fatalities and injuries from falls have risen in recent years. Lack of proper fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA violation.
 
OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down Campaign takes place May 8 – 12, and will ask employers and workers to voluntarily devote work time to discuss safety hazards, protection, and fall prevention initiatives. Stand-Down events have been scheduled in all 50 states by a host of industry, community, educational, and nonprofit organizations.
 
RCMA recommends that roofing inspections be performed by a roofing professional authorized and capable of making repairs. If homeowners or in-house staff are conducting inspections, they should always first attempt to observe the roof from the ground. Maintenance, repair, and coating applications should be coordinated by a properly trained building owner or by an experienced roof coatings applicator.
 
“OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down highlights the safety risks inherent in roofing where specialists routinely perform high-elevation work,” says RCMA Executive Director Matt Coffindaffer. “We encourage RCMA members to participate in this event by taking a moment to emphasize safety issues and preventative practices, educate others about best practices, and open a dialogue with all shareholders to ensure a safe workplace environment.”
 
Stand-Down participants can use the hashtag #StandDown4Safety on social media to help raise awareness for OSHA’s safety awareness campaign. Participants can also share photos of Stand-Down events, certificates of participation, or highlight their own fall prevention efforts.
 
To learn more about OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down campaign to prevent falls in construction, please visit the website

Duro-Last Oregon Plant Receives Safety Certification

Duro-Last Inc. has announced a local award and national safety certification received by its Grants Pass, Ore., manufacturing facility.

In late January 2017, Duro-Last received the 2016 Business Excellence Award from the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Organization (OSHA) presented the Oregon facility with the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site certification in November 2016.

According to Colene Martin, president/CEO of the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, “The Business Excellence Award is given to a chamber member who has a record of dependability, success and leadership. The criteria for selection include business character, business excellence, customer relations and community service. Duro-Last not only excels in these areas but also is known for their employee safety standards and the number of awards they have received for it over the years.”

The most recent safety award for the Duro-Last facility is OSHA’s VPP Star Site certification, which is the highest of three designations offered by the VPP.

The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health, according to OSHA. This is for OSHA’s official recognition of efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. The goal is to encourage private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training and cooperation between management and workers. The VPP enlists worker involvement to achieve injury and illness rates that are below the National Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries.

Oregon OSHA Director Michael Wood presented the award at the Grants Pass facility.

“We are proud of the work we have done with OSHA, which has allowed us to learn the best practices of other VPP companies and has helped us understand the importance of continuous improvement in safety programs,” says Tim Hart, vice president of Western Operations for Duro-Last Inc. “We thank Oregon OSHA for recognizing the dedication our Grants Pass employees have to safety. Without our employees’ safety mindset, this recognition would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the Oregon VPP team for their encouragement and mentoring.”

This OSHA honor is not a one-time award, however. Retaining VPP Star Site status is an ongoing process, and continuous improvement is expected.

“Duro-Last was the first company in Oregon OSHA history to be awarded the VPP Star level on the first try. This is a milestone,” says Hart. “Usually a company gets the Merit status first, and then needs several more years to complete the application process for Star status. Our team decided to apply for the Star status directly. Our efforts took a little under two years because we had the cooperation and enthusiasm of the entire Duro-Last team.”

The Grants Pass facility will serve as a mentor to other organizations applying for OSHA VPP status. In 2016, Duro-Last was appointed to the Governor’s Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Panel. A graduate of OSHA’s Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), Duro-Last is part of the Southern Oregon SHARP Alliance. Duro-Last also belongs to the Redwood Safety Committee, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI), and the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce.

“Since the first Duro-Last roof was installed in the 1970s, the company has been on a growth path,” says Hart. “In 1985, Duro-Last expanded into Grants Pass, Ore. In 1987, we purchased 47,000-square-feet of manufacturing and 7,500-square-feet of office space at the North Valley Industrial Park. In 1996, we completed and opened a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. We expanded again in 2006, adding 35,000 more square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate EXCEPTIONAL Metals, a division of Duro-Last. Throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to safety, to quality and to being good neighbors to our communities.”

Hazard Communication for Roofers

To follow the OSHA Haz-Com standard, an employer must develop a written Hazard Communication plan.

To follow the OSHA Haz-Com standard, an employer must develop a written Hazard Communication plan.

According to Paracelsus, the 16th century physician and scientist: “Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.”

If you wash your windows in your house or car once in a while, the glass cleaner is not subject to the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication standard, which essentially ensures that information concerning the classified hazards of chemicals is transmitted. However, professional window washers use glass cleaners eight hours per day, five days a week, by the gallons and in stronger concentrations. For these people, OSHA’s Haz-Com standard comes into play and the window washer’s employer is expected to have a written Hazard Communication plan—a list of all hazardous chemicals onsite, Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and the proper container labeling.

In the roofing industry, synthetic roofing materials, asphalt roof shingles, adhesives and treated wood shingles all contain hazardous chemicals. In addition, items roofers use every day, like lubricants, hand-cleaning products, sealants, thinners, coatings, gasoline and diesel fuels, and even fire extinguishers, are subject to the HazCom standard.

In OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards, Haz-Com is almost always No. 2, second only to Fall Protection. Out of 398 inspections in the construction/roofing industry in 2015, OSHA issued 768 citations and collected $443,317 in fines for HazCom. Unfortunately, this number is so high because many companies, who otherwise have an excellent safety record, do not understand or completely disregard the Haz-Com standard.

If OSHA comes onto a company’s site to do an inspection for an accident, a complaint, or a visible infraction, an OSHA insprector may ask to see the Haz-Com plan and the SDSs. To follow the OSHA Haz-Com standard, an employer must develop a written Hazard Communication plan, determine what products onsite may be potentially hazardous, provide a list of all the hazardous or potentially hazardous substances onsite, and locate SDSs for all these products. These SDSs must be immediately available for all employees on the worksite during work hours.

These chemicals must also be properly identified and labeled. Here’s what you need to know:

Safety Data Sheets

SDSs are information sheets for one specific product and have 16 standardized sections. The employer is responsible for having the SDSs onsite.

Labeling

Container labels must be clearly visible, legible and in English. If employees speak a language other than English, that language can be on the labels and SDSs, as well. There are six elements to Haz-Com labeling:

  • The product identifier appears at the top of a container. This is usually the name or code number to the product.
  • Pictograms are a black picture on a white diamond background with a red outline.
  • Pictograms are designed to be easily identifiable to non-native readers. They also make labels more identifiable.
  • The labeling format also includes one of two signal words: “Warning” or “Danger”.
  • Beneath the signal words, there are Hazard Statements and Precautionary statements. The Hazard Statement tells users how the chemical can be a hazard. The precautionary statement tells users how to protect themselves from the chemical.
  • Usually, on the bottom of a label, contact information for the manufacturer, importer and supplier is included.

Training

Training is also important to maintain the Haz-Com standard. Employees must be trained on the types of hazardous materials onsite, the location of the hazardous chemicals onsite, the locations of the Haz-Com plan and the locations of SDSs onsite. Employees must also be trained how to read the labels and SDSs.

Learn More

To learn more about Haz-Com and the toxic substances in roofing, visit the following websites:

Photo: OSHA

NAHB Chairman Issues Statement on Legal Challenge to OSHA Rule

Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., has issued the following statement on the legal challenge filed by NAHB and several other industry groups against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Labor, regarding OSHA’s final rule called “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses:”
   
“NAHB and other industry groups have joined together to fight this rule. We have opposed this rule from the start, and cannot allow this type of regulatory overreach to occur.”
   
“Among the issues with the rule, there are concerns associated with OSHA’s requirement of employers to submit detailed injury and illness logs to the agency for public posting. Not only does OSHA not have the authority to do this, it also exposes a business to reputational harm, all without demonstrating any evidence that it would reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
   
“We also have concerns about the anti-retaliation portion of the rule which would allow OSHA inspectors to cite an employer without needing a complaint from a worker–this is an overreach of authority as it goes against Congress’s mechanism to address retaliation that is specifically set forth in the OSHA statute.
   
“OSHA has not justified any of the rule’s requirements with any real benefits analysis and has relied on anecdotal information. This is insufficient and cannot be allowed to stand and potentially serve as a precedent for other agency rules. Workplace safety is of the utmost concern of our members, however this rule is unlawful and does not serve its intended purpose of improving workplace safety. The rule needs to be vacated and set aside in its entirety.”