Safety Corner: Safety First

Valuable Resources for WSRCA Members

by Darin Douglas, CEO, Lowe Roofing, Inc., & president, Merge 3 Technology, Inc.









(Editor’s Note: Darin Douglas began roofing in 1997 after graduating from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. Lowe Roofing, Inc., is a family-owned roofing company that has been in operation since 1975 in South Dakota and Wyoming. Merge 3 Technology, Inc., helps contractors track and control their safety processes and efforts on a daily basis. Douglas also served on the WSRCA Board of Directors for nine years and was the chair of the Safety and Health Committee and Low-Slope Committee.)


If you recently attended the Western Roofing Expo 2019, then you saw first-hand all of the amazing amenities that the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) provides to its members. Up-close demonstrations of the hottest industry products, motivating seminars, and sneak peeks of innovative industry trends are just a few of the benefits of being a WSRCA insider. While it may not be as glamorous or fun as watching The Roofing Games™, one of the best resources for members is the WSRCA’s collection of safety features. By utilizing all of the WSRCA’s safety tools, you’ll stay educated, keep your employees safe, and avoid staggering OSHA fines.

The WSRCA’s Safety Toolbox Topics is a collection of downloadable safety materials that provides enough content to hold daily safety meetings with your crew. Each topic sheet contains general and specific information in brief form to assist the meeting facilitator in conducting a substantive meeting and to promote discussion of the subject matter. Remember to document, in writing, all meetings, topics, and discussions in which your team participates. The WSRCA’s Toolbox Safety Talk worksheets include an area for each attendee to confirm their attendance, as well as their understanding of the subject matter that was presented.

When it comes to talking about safety with your crew and preventing accidents, communication is key. Prepare your topic and plan your agenda before the meeting. Also, be able to present and discuss the topic without reading it from a handout or projection. On that note, limit the presentation to ten minutes. Since these talks are ideally done frequently, they don’t need to be overwhelmingly long in order to get the information across. Use visual examples when possible and be sure to ask for input and feedback during and after the talk. This feedback should include your contractors’ opinions on the status of the safety at your current jobsites. When you hear this feedback, you should remedy all safety concerns immediately and alert management, if applicable. Be sure the attendance sheet is signed by everyone who was present at the safety talk, then give the topic and attendance sheet to your safety officers, along with any concerns.

Choose timely topics for your toolbox talks. As we go into the hot summer months, it’s a great opportunity to focus on heat safety. Does your crew know the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion? Do they know the signs to look for to prevent heat illness? Similarly, if your team has had problems with specific safety violations in the past, be sure to focus on those issues. Review what happened, why it happened, what injuries could have occurred, and how the issue was remedied. The WSRCA’s Toolbox Safety Talk worksheets cover an extensive list of subjects, including: adhesive equipment, chemical handling, eye and head protection, first aid, fall protections, ladders, lifting, PPE, tools, vehicle safety, weather, and much more.

To keep out of trouble in the event of a surprise OSHA visit, the WSRCA’s Real-Time Safety Reporting feature, provided by M3 Safety, logs all your safety data no matter your location. Over time, this tool shapes and solidifies the safety training, inspection, and culture within your company.

Is there a language barrier at your jobsite that can cause a safety breakdown? The WSRCA has you covered with its Spanish-in-a-Pinch cards. With these cards you can easily learn some of the most important words and phrases in Spanish related to safety and the workplace to keep all employees safe on the job. Similarly, the WSRCA has provided Safety Field Cards, which are available for download. Displaying these at your shop and on worksites provides a constant reminder to your crew to stay safe.

Additionally, WSRCA members have access to safety bulletins and articles to expand their safety knowledge. Some available bulletins include: OSHA Inspection Checklist, Isocyanates in the Workplace, OSHA Interviews, and much more. This valuable information is sent regularly to members’ inboxes, and can also be accessed through the WSRCA’s online safety articles archive. The WSRCA also has a dedicated Safety Committee, and you should feel free to reach out to them for guidance or concerns. Keeping your employees safe and saving you money are just a few of the valuable benefits gained by becoming a WSRCA member.