Rooftop snow removal by workers is so dangerous, OSHA just released a Hazard Alert. Listen for a list of 8 best practices of rooftop snow removal.
Winter is still hitting hard, prompting OSHA to warn companies about the perils of working on a roof covered with snow. Hear tips assessing the roof for hazards, considering weight capacity, pulling the snow off with rakes, using an aerial lift and more.
Advice the on dangers of overexertion and heart attacks while shoveling snow is also offered in this podcast.
intro music and effects
Dan Clark: Rooftop snow removal. Don’t let workers get injured or killed doing it. OSHA just released a Hazard Alert on rooftop snow.
Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
If your business is in a region currently getting pounded by snow, clearing the roof is no easy task. But OSHA offers ways to do it safely. their new Hazard Alert includes this story:
A worker was laying gridlines and shoveling snow on a second-floor deck. An elevator shaft opening was covered with a plastic tarp and had temporary guardrails installed, but only around a portion of the shaft opening. The worker, who wasn’t wearing fall protection, walked through the unguarded portion of the elevator shaft opening, stepped onto the snow-covered plastic tarp, fell 30 feet and died.
And this is happening all too often when the snow falls. In the past decade, OSHA’s investigated 16 serious injuries and fatalities connected to removing snow from rooftops.
This type of work can lead to falls from edges, through skylights and from ladders and other equipment. Many times, the workers doing the jobs aren’t familiar with the hazards of the work. Surfaces are extra slippery because of the ice and snow.
OSHA offers these best practices for rooftop snow removal:
#1. Assess the roof first. Is it sloped? Are there hidden skylights? How much weight can the roof hold?
#2. Try to remove snow without putting people on the roof. Snow rakes from the ground work or use aerial lifts.
#3. Make sure hazards such as skylights are protected. Wire cages or railings can be installed around them.
#4. Use fall protection, such as personal fall arrest systems or guardrails.
#5. Use ladders carefully. Make sure they have stable footing, the rungs are clear of ice and snow, and they extend 3 feet beyond the edge of the roof. Never try to remove snow while on a ladder. This can cause people to lose their balance.
#6. Avoid power lines that may be close to buildings.
#7. Don’t use powered equipment, like a snowblower, near the edges of a roof.
#8. People on the ground should be far enough away that they won’t be hit with falling ice or snow.
Be aware of other hazards related to snow removal, whether it’s on a roof, sidewalk or driveway:
• Overexertion with strains and sprains.
• The very big possibility of a heart attack.
That’s all for this episode on the Rooftop Snow Removal Alert From OSHA. And, by the way, the link to the alert is in the transcript of this podcast at creativesafetysupply.com/podcast. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code SAFETYBRIEF.
man on roof image by New York National Guard; Hazard Alert banner from OSHA