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Video Q&A - What if you’re not sure if a roof can support you?

By Bryan McWhorter | Last updated: December 6, 2019

Hi, Bryan McWhorter here from Safeopedia.

The question we have is if you're a roofer or working on a roof and you think the structural integrity of a section of the roof has been compromised, how do you deal with it?

Very important question. It's important to realize that a roofing has the fifth highest work related death rate almost twice that of the average for construction. On average about 50 roofers die every year about once a week, about one per week in the US.


So again, when it comes to roofing, we need to really have our ducks in a row regarding safety. So how do you handle that section where you think maybe the structural integrity has been compromised? If you do believe that is a problem, then you need to bring in a competent expert who can verify that it can't, that the roof can support the way to the people that are going to be working on it. And if not, then they need to add structure to it or put railing around it, fall arrest systems. Some control measure in place.

Guessing is not an adequate response to this type of a problem.

Again, when it comes to working at an elevated surface, we really do need to have our ducks in a row. We need to keep workers safe.

So we need to consider things like

  • the slope of the roof,
  • how high off the ground it is,
  • where we put our materials so we don't create slip trip hazards by tools and materials out there that we're working around.

There are a lot of great devices today to help workers tie off. So there's no excuse for really not being prepared. You need to check out the job site in advance, make sure you have everything you need to do the job safely and that people are properly trained. To help with this, OSHA has a lot of materials and guidelines out there.

There are actually roofing checklists that you can download that capture all these that you can go through and use to help keep yourself safe. I'll put a link below for one of those checklists that was created by the National Roofing Contractors Association, and again, put out by OSHA.

If you have safety related questions, send them in to Safeopedia. You have questions? We have answers. Til next time. Stay safe.

This is the checklist mentioned in the video

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Written by Bryan McWhorter | Lead Safety Advisor, Author, Writer, Speaker

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Bryan McWhorter is a safety professional with eight years of experience in driving and teaching safety. Bryan gained his knowledge and experience as the safety officer and Senior Trainer for Philips Lighting. Philips is a strong health and well-being company that promotes a safety first culture.

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