General Safety on & off the Roof
by Gary Zimmerman, Arizona territory sales manager, Roofmaster Products Company
(Editor’s Note: Gary Zimmerman has been with Roofmaster® for 24 years, and previously he was the territory sales manager for Northern Los Angeles, California. He is a former roofing contractor, Pasadena Fire Captain, and United States Marine, and has extensive experience and knowledge in all aspects of roofing and solving unique contractor issues.)
The supply chain has caused a shift back to torch down roofing in the past year or so. The increase in sales of torches and Dragin Wagons in recent months has been a key indicator of this change. Another indicator is the repair of those kettles that were idle in the contractor’s yards going back to work.
Let’s brush up on personal and job safety items. Some of your employees may be new to these applications as we are again putting open flame and elevated temperature materials on the roof deck and the kettle area.
Has your employee presented his or herself in proper work clothes? Have you provided the necessary safety equipment, including dust masks, proper gloves for the job at hand, face protection, Kevlar® sleeves, eye protection, and any needed fall protection?
How are you providing edge protection, if needed? Is there a written safety plan for the job? Has it been read and signed by all employees on the job? Are fire extinguishers of proper size within reasonable travel distance on the roof?
Are all LPG tanks in proper working order and have a current inspection date? Have all LPG hoses and torches been inspected and are in good working order? Have you established a fire watch during and after work? Is the crew using infrared thermometers to detect the temperature in walls? Dragin Wagons should never be used as a roll dolly. Follow manufacturers’ guidelines on installation of roofing material. Too much heat is just as detrimental as a cold weld. Use a roller to help with good adhesion and bleed out. An embedder tool is highly recommended for end laps. A roll puller is more efficient than just kicking rolls to imbed.
Always look for labor-saving equipment and take good care of the work force you have. Make sure the entire team knows the appropriate safety measures when working on the roof, especially when completing a torch down job.