What if I told you I had invented a device that could virtually assure you of a life free of any kind of injury or damage loss for your roofing business? This would seem to be an intriguing proposition, especially for a roofing contractor. You would want me to tell you more.
Well, I have not invented any such thing, but the solution to every safety problem you will ever have or ever avoid is on all your jobs. They do not, however, come with an on-and-off switch and they certainly do not have an “automatic” function. You know what’s coming:
Roofers crash your trucks, step on the nails they just dropped in your customer’s flower beds. Roofers cut, burn, and puncture themselves and sometimes their fellow roofers. Roofers trip and fall and sometimes they even fall so far they end up in traction, a wheelchair, or even six-feet under.
Some roofers, however, have the capacity to work a 30- or 40-year career on the roof without a lost-time injury or damage incident. These roofers are the solution and not the problem.
Are the roofers on your team problem bringers or problem solvers? If they are the former you need to turn them into the latter. I sincerely believe the way to safe roofing is by employing only safe roofers. I also believe the only way to become a safe roofer is to become a competent, well-trained roofer.
You do not need me to tell you that well-trained roofers do not grow on trees. Finding and keeping crews has never been more difficult than it is in today’s market. Settling on putting just anyone on your payroll and calling them a roofer without the training needed to keep them and your team safe is a disaster waiting to happen.
The responsibility for training the people you put on the roof is yours, Mr. or Ms. Roofing Contractor. There are many options for worker training available to roofing contractors, and most of them are available in English and Spanish. There is no excuse for not taking the time to train your roofers. Further to this, there is no reason for training to ever end. Especially when it comes to safety training.
In addition to the fact that the cost to benefit ratio favors well-trained, safe roofers, there is a moral imperative at play when you put workers in harm’s way. Roofing, by its very nature, is hazardous work. You should begin every project under the assumption that bad things can and will happen unless you have a workforce that is trained, equipped, and motivated to operate safely.
Roofing contractors who employ sub-contract workers should understand that all of the above still applies. You still must ensure that anyone working under your banner is trained to operate safely. The moral imperative applies, no matter what kind of tax document these people receive at the year’s end. If a subcontractor is operating in your orbit, you are responsible for their safety.
Before I fall back off my soap box, let me add one more point. Safe, well-trained roofers save you time and money. They perform better work, waste fewer materials, and cause you less grief. The least you can do is to encourage them and train them to work safely. For your sake as well as theirs.
Some links to safety training for roofers: