When you are preparing to begin a roofing job, you must assess potential hazards at the job site and require that each worker use personal protective equipment (PPE) to maintain a safe working environment. General PPE includes gloves, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved hard hats, eye protection with side shields and protective footwear.
But often, specific roofing activities require additional types of PPE. An example would be the use of respiratory protection by roofing workers applying solvent-based bonding adhesive on a fully adhered single-ply roof membrane and substrate in a poorly ventilated roof area. Another example would be the use of full-face shields and hard hats by kettle operators to protect their faces from hot bitumen splashes. However, one potential job-site hazard often is overlooked—noise.
Ten million Americans have suffered irreversible noise-induced hearing loss, and 30 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Noise hazards at construction sites can originate from a variety of sources, including equipment operated by roofing workers during roof system installation, retrofit or tear-off. Sometimes, noise levels generated from other heavy construction equipment, such as pile drivers, material handlers, concrete breakers and earthmovers, can exceed permissible noise levels as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The obligation placed on you to protect your employees from all noise exposures is clear, regardless of the source of noise or the trade responsible for loud equipment operation.