A precarious time

Increasing federal regulations will affect your business

Roofing contractors throughout the U.S. have faced difficult economic times during the past few years and eagerly are anticipating a boost in job activity that comes with the summer months. Unfortunately, the lethargic economy has not tempered federal agencies' efforts to advance new regulations, policies and procedures that may significantly affect roofing contractors.

During the past few months alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finalized and published new rules related to crane and derrick operations and crane operator certification; rescinded a 15-year-old directive to effectively prohibit a fall-protection option (slide guards) for residential roofing work; withdrawn a proposed interpretation of the general and construction industry noise standards; and withdrawn a proposal to include a check box for reporting musculoskeletal disorders on employer injury and illness logs (OSHA Form 300).

Although a few agency actions may benefit roofing contractors, the challenges presented by the new crane standard, residential fall-protection directive and other future government agency initiatives likely will dampen any thoughts of celebration.

For example, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its Fall Regulatory Agenda in December 2010, and a number of OSHA initiatives were prominent on the schedule.