As I was saying …

Toward a safer industry

We've come a long way in a decade.

As a rule, we're operating more safely and smarter, and we have some encouraging data to support this. We know, for example, the number of claims from falls involving CNA-insured roofing contractors has declined from 262 in 2002 to 63 in 2011. That's a huge improvement, which, by the way, was occurring long before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration decided to change its fall-protection rules. Sixty-three falls still are way too many, but we're learning more about the nature of the falls, most notably that falls from ladders are more of a problem than we might have thought.

There is a similar trend with fire-related claims thanks in no small measure to the CERTA training program that now has seen about 20,000 applicators go through full-day training courses.

The picture, of course, is not all rosy. Injuries related to material handling continue to be a problem. Traffic accidents have ticked up, with some serious claims stemming from distracted drivers sending text messages. And our industry's demographics don't help; older roofing workers are more likely to be injured on the job than younger ones—and we now have more older workers than ever.