There are numerous publications available detailing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. These typically include about 500 pages of text and illustrations and can be confusing. NRCA recently released The NRCA Safety Manual, Second Edition, which is significantly shorter with about 250 pages of easy-to-understand explanations, illustrations and photos explaining federal rules related to the roofing industry. The new manual is an updated version of The NRCA Safety Manual, which was published in 2000.
The NRCA Safety Manual, Second Edition contains new chapters regarding exposures, hazardous materials and hazardous-waste management and minimization, as well as a new section in the Fall Protection chapter addressing rescue. The Exposures chapter features four topics that have been increasingly regulated by OSHA: lead, silica, isocyanates and noise.
Lead is an important topic because roofing projects often involve the installation or removal of lead-coated copper, lead flashings or other lead roof accessories. Silica is of concern to roofing contractors because the abrasive action of cutting concrete and clay products produces a dust that can be inhaled by workers, potentially causing silicosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that reduces lung function. OSHA fines involving worker exposures to lead are substantial—a manufacturer recently alleged to have violated the lead standard was assessed a proposed penalty of $115,000.