When temperatures spike, the last thing many people want to do is work on a roof. However, the factors that damage a roof don’t get the summer off, so roofing professionals cant either. It is essential to ensure that you and your workers are safe and protected during the extreme heat.
Keep an eye out for one another by making sure everyone thoroughly understands these hot-weather roof safety guidelines.
Be aware of when it’s time and how to cool off
You and your employees should know how to take care of themselves in the heat. It is wise to wear loose, light-colored clothes with plenty of ventilation for clothing. Wear a hat with a brim that covers your face and neck. Take frequent breaks for shade and water. When working in the sun, you should be drinking at least two to four cups of water every hour. It is also wise to avoid caffeine, which increases the rate of dehydration.
Understand your Body
Remind employees to check with their doctors to determine if their daily medications require extra precaution when in the sun. Some medications increase the risk of sunburn. Excessive sunlight can cause other medicines to react with skin proteins and cause allergic reactions.
Set Expectations and Stay Prepared
Employees that are unaccustomed to working outdoors need to acclimate gradually. Workers who haven’t built up a tolerance to heat are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses too. Some general rules to follow on the job site to avoid these illnesses include:
- Ensure that employees are familiar with OSHA’s heat index risk levels chart or download their heat safety app. Set the expectation that precautions should be followed for each level.
- Remind employees that direct sunlight, strenuous work, or protective clothing compound heat index risks and require additional precautions.
- Make sure everyone knows how to recognize the symptoms of the various heat-related illnesses and can take appropriate action for each.
Extra Tips to Ensure Safety
- When possible, schedule roofing work for the early morning hours.
- Use sloped roofs to block direct sunlight, working on western-facing slopes in the morning and eastern-facing slopes in the afternoon. This is an easy roof safety tip to implement when maintenance has to be done, no matter the temperature outside.
- Be careful when walking because the asphalt coating can soften in the heat. Wear shoes with traction, and use walkways when possible. When working directly on the roof’s surface is unavoidable, put down a barrier like a drop cloth, carpet squares, or foam cushions.
- Caution workers that metal surfaces on a rooftop can become hot enough to cause severe burns.
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