July 2003

Smoking on the rooftop | Safe Solutions

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Smoking on the rooftop

by Bill Steinmetz
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It was Friday, and Frank, Friendly Roofing's foreman, was glad. The weather had been extremely hot all week, and Frank was looking forward to a quiet weekend relaxing in air conditioning with his family.

Frank and his crew had spent the week tearing off and replacing a built-up roof system over the local high-school gymnasium. To avoid the summer heat, the crew had started work at 5 a.m. and took its morning break on the roof at 8 a.m.

During Friday morning's break, Frank and the crew members were drinking soda and discussing the project's progress. Several crew members were smoking cigarettes nearby. Frank knew smoking on the roof was against Friendly Roofing's safety policy because it was a fire hazard, but he thought allowing the crew members to smoke on the job helped boost morale and productivity.

During the break, Frank noticed paper wrappers, scraps of wood and large amounts of tear-off debris were piled on the roof. Frank told a crew member to make sure the roof was clear of debris before the end of the day; he was concerned that if a storm occurred during the weekend, the debris could plug drains and litter the schoolyard. The crew member assured Frank a crane would arrive after lunch to assist...

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