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Cal/OSHA addresses workplace accidents in roofing industry

The California Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a campaign to underscore the importance of compliance with safety regulations in the roofing industry. Cal/OSHA reported that 126 of the investigations into workplace accidents from 2012 through 2014 involved roofing operations. The fact that safety violations caused 75 percent of those accidents is of great concern.

Roofing accidents commonly lead to catastrophic injuries and are often fatal, and examples of the Cal/OSHA investigations include the 2013 death of a roofer in Southern California. Investigators found that the worker lost his life in a 36-foot fall because he was not wearing any fall protection equipment. This worker's death was preventable, as was the case in another 2013 workplace accident in which an employee fell while working on the roof of an apartment building. The edge of the roof was unprotected, and the worker fell about 17 feet to the ground below. He lived for five days before passing away.

It is unacceptable for workers to be exposed to known hazards, and company owners have to comply with Cal/OSHA's strict safety regulations. Fall protection, such as vests with safety hooks and railings along edges of rooftops, are essential. Employees should also ensure that the access points to roofs are safe, and site evaluations have to identify areas where power lines may pose electrocution hazards. The surfaces of roofs commonly cause significant reflection, posing a threat for heat-related illness that should be adequately monitored.

During the awareness campaign, Cal/OSHA will conduct random inspections at work sites of California roofing companies. Although this action may prevent some workplace accidents, employees will likely continue to suffer injuries or worse in unsafe work environments. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance fund provides financial relief for injured workers, as well as for families who have lost loved ones in on-the-job accidents.

Source: insurancenewsnet.com, "Cal/OSHA Announces Safety Awareness Campaign for Roofers", April 9, 2015

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