Safe Solutions

Preventing slip-ups

The early morning air was crisp as Merriweather Roofing Co. workers arrived at the job site—a small, commercial building with a low-slope roof that required torched application. Frank, the company's foreman, had been with Merriweather Roofing for six years and participated in many safety programs. As the workers unloaded the trucks, Frank inspected the roof, checking for potential hazards, such as soft spots and penetrations. He recognized various fall hazards and discussed them with the crew.

The workers immediately set up a warning-line system on all sides of the roof, ensuring the warning line was positioned 6 feet from the roof's edge. They also made sure the warning line was flagged every 6 feet.

Frank assigned a safety monitor to keep his eyes on workers who were required to work outside the warning line. Because the building was two stories high, a fall could be fatal. Frank also made sure there were at least two 20-pound, ABC-rated fire extinguishers within 10 feet of torching activity.

As the crew finished loading the roof, one worker, Manuel, picked up a torch, lit it and turned toward the area in which he planned to work. Suddenly, he slipped, dropping the lit torch. Before anyone could react, the intense flame hit the leg of a co-worker, Jack, who cried out in agony and crumpled to the roof surface.