California targets roofers in newest safety initiative

The roofing industry is the newest target of California's OSHA and Labor Enforcement Task.

The roofing industry is the newest target of California’s OSHA and Labor Enforcement Task.

According to the Central Valley Business Times (CVBT), a new initiative has been started by OSHA and the state of California. This safety awareness campaign, also supported by the California Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), is targeting workers in the roofing industry, who face a higher risk of job-related injuries and fatalities than those in other occupations.

From 2012 to 2014, California OSHA workers investigated 126 roofing operations where accidents had occurred. Seventy-five percent of these accidents took place at roofing jobs that were in violation of OSHA compliance safety codes, according to WorkersCompensation.com.

According to OSHA, one of every five worker deaths in 2013 was in the construction field.

Their new campaign, “Roofing Maximum Enforcement Program,” is set to run March through November of 2015, in a renewed effort to target inspections of roofing facilities and jobs, according to PR Newswire.

This program aims to not only inspect present operations but also provide new safety training and supervisor training for future jobs.

According to CVBT, fall protection assurance, such as personal safety harnesses, and overall railing and building structure safety will be reviewed as part of the new program. The temperature of the roofs will also be tested to ensure a safe work environment.

Construction fall protection was the top cited OSHA standard violation in 2014. Many of these injuries and fatalities can be prevented with the correct equipment, training and available knowledge resources.

Not complying with safety guidelines can also cause monetary losses. According to LETF statistics, California loses between $9 billion to $28 billion a year in insurance costs, unpaid wages and sales tax.

If a work site lacks protection or poses a serious hazard to worker health, a stop order can be issued until the problem is corrected. Future non-compliance can result in citations, fines and overall shutdown of production.

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