The safety of your employees and customers rests on your shoulders as the leader of the company. It’s a responsibility you upheld when you decided it was time for an industrial roof replacement. As a well-informed business manager, you knew that a sagging, leaking, molded, or deteriorated roof could pose a severe threat to the workplace. While new commercial roofing is a good investment in safety for the long term, the installation process can be dangerous if not handled adequately.
As long as you choose to work with a highly competent roofing contractor, you should not have to worry about the dangers of construction. Still, it doesn’t hurt to make certain preparations for your end of the operation. These tips will help keep your business safe and enable a smooth and successful construction operation.
Ask About OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an organization under the U.S. Department of Labor concerned with ensuring safe and healthy working conditions. OSHA’s regulations protect roofing workers from common injuries or illnesses on the job site when followed appropriately. Before signing any contracts, ask your roofing contractor about what kinds of safety protocols they implement for projects of this scale. Don’t hesitate to bring up OSHA and ask whether their employees are trained in OSHA standards for the roofing industry. If so, then you can rest assured that your business is in good hands and that labor accidents are highly unlikely to occur.
Block Off Dangerous Areas
OSHA procedures can help keep the workers on your rooftop safe, but what about your employees and customers? It isn’t uncommon for roofing materials, nails, or tools to fall off the roof. Plus, your roofing laborers will need an unobstructed area in which to park their trucks, organize their equipment, and go up and down from the roof all day long. Consult with your contractor before the first day of construction to create an access plan for their workers. The location should ideally be out of the way of any heavily trafficked sidewalks, roads or parking lots where people will need to come and go for normal business operations. It should then be blocked off with cones and tape, preventing any stray pedestrians from entering the work zone.
Signage & Communication
Of course, there may be no perfect solution to blocking off an area on your premises. You may end up needing to close off an entire section of the parking lot, temporarily redirecting the flow of automobile and foot traffic, or making other such logistical decisions to prevent people from exposure to dangerous equipment and falling debris. Make sure to post highly visible signs informing passers-by of these changes. Inform your customers and employees through any marketing or internal channels you have available, such as social media, websites, email, newsletters, phone calls, etc. Utilize your communications to the fullest to ensure that anyone entering your building has prior knowledge of the construction.
Consider A Temporary Close
Let’s say you sit down with your contractor for a conversation about safety, and you conclude that, for whatever reason, there are few optimal ways to block off certain areas or implement effective communication. You may even discuss the detrimental effects of other disruptions to your business, like loud industrial noise, exposure to dust particles, interruptions in temperature control, etc. In this case, it may make more sense to close your business down temporarily. While the loss of revenue during this period may not be ideal, it’s certainly better than dealing with any physical or legal consequences of an injury on your property.
Notify Your Neighbors
Does your commercial property share a sidewalk or a parking lot with another business? If there are any other buildings within a few hundred feet of yours, it would be courteous and responsible to notify them of your upcoming roofing project. Inform them of your construction dates, potential noise levels, need for access to specific spaces, and any necessary closures or other disruptions to shared spaces. In this way, your neighbors will also have a chance to make safety preparations for their property and won’t be knocking on your door later, blindsided and disgruntled.
A Job Well-Done
The requisite preparations for a construction project of this size may have your head spinning in circles. It may feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, especially as you struggle to keep up with your regular work duties simultaneously. However, it will be worth the effort when there are no on-site injuries from the moment the first nails are hammered down to the moment the last truck drives away. Finally, you will have a brand new roof to keep your livelihood and your people safe and sound.