Safe Solutions

Minimize caught-between hazards

Trust Roofing Co. had been in business for more than 20 years and provided quality service to many loyal customers. Jack, Trust Roofing's owner, was proud of his company's safety record and took care to ensure his employees worked safely by requiring them to participate in regular safety training sessions.

One crisp, clear fall day, a Trust Roofing crew was reroofing a small shopping complex. The building was three stories high, and the main access to the roof from inside the building was through a steel hatch that connected the roof to an attic space below. The crew had been given permission to use the access point.

The crew carefully erected a scaffold so workers could access the roof edge. Steve, Trust Roofing's superintendent, inspected the scaffold. The outside of the scaffold had a top rail and midrail and appeared safe. Additional fall protection included a warning-line system installed 6 feet from the roof edge and a safety monitor to watch workers who were working outside the warning line.

The crew spent the morning tearing off the existing roof membrane. At noon, the crew broke for lunch. One young worker, José, remained on the scaffold, inspecting the edge-metal detail. The scaffold platform was about 20 inches from the wall of the building, and José reached across the gap, bracing his hands against the side of the building.