There’s a whole bunch of safety concerns when it comes to commercial business, and they all should be taken under serious consideration by business owners and managers alike. Fire hazards, security worries and theft are just some of potential issues you can run into. One of the biggest safety issues facing commercial businesses today starts at the top. Of the building that is. Of course, we’re talking about rooftop safety.
Picture this scenario: Your commercial business is thriving. You’re turning profit like you never have before, customers and employees are both happy, and you’re sitting on top of the mountain in your respective industry.
Then, disaster strikes.
You find out one of your top employees took a wrong step while working on the rooftop and took a nasty spill. Nobody knows how long he’ll be out of work, not to mention the cost you might be incurring as a business owner. What’s worse, you’ve also got the local news waiting outside your building for your side of the story.
If only there was something that could’ve been done to prevent this, right?
Fall Protection and Rooftop Safety? Why Does it Matter?
The U.S. Department of Labor lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational injuries or deaths. Within the construction industry alone, falls from rooftops account for one-third of all fall-related fatalities.
Fortunately, it’s also one of the most preventable hazards – whether you’re modifying your existing building or starting from the ground up on a new facility, it’s important to take rooftop safety seriously.
What Could Go Wrong?
You’re probably thinking you’ve got plenty more to worry about running a commercial business than making sure things are safe and sound on the roof of your building. But if you think rooftop safety should be neglected because it’s not directly impacting your business, you’re sadly mistaken. Here’s just some of the things that can happen as a result of lackluster rooftop safety.
Legal Issues – If you don’t have the proper protection in place on your rooftop, you’re leaving yourself wide open to a bunch of potential legal issues. You could face a lawsuit from the employee, their family, and potentially your parent corporation. These legal issues can leave you tied up in court for years on end, taking the focus completely away from your business.
Damaged Business Reputation – A traumatic fall from a rooftop is more than just an injury to your employee. Not only will there most likely be witnesses to the accident, but word spreads fast through the workplace. Not to mention all of the negative local (and maybe even national) press your organization will be on the receiving end of due to negligence. All this adds up to the public no longer trusting you, and also not wanting to give you their hard earned money. Which brings us to…
Money, Money, Money – You can be sure that a serious rooftop fall is going to put a major squeeze on your finances. Not only will you most likely be on the hook for a workmans comp claim, you’ll also be paying legal fees for yourself, your business, and most likely the injured employee. Aside from having to pay the worker in question directly, the negative attention your business draws to itself may even turn customers off from using you all together – destroying your profits in the process.
OSHA Could Clear it Out – OSHA executes hundreds upon thousands of inspections each year, but an emphasis is always placed on commercial business and other hazardous industries. And while OSHA themselves can’t shut down a business, they CAN order all employees off of a job if they deem it to be an immediate risk for injury or death. This means lost time, lost money, and a damaged reputation for your business. – a nightmare for any business owner.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, rooftop safety issues can largely be prevented by any business owner. All it takes is a little bit of research and spending and you’ll be up to OSHA code in no time.
Every business will have their own specific needs and wants, but here are a couple of the solutions you can look at that apply across the board:
Removable Safety Railing – Removable safety railings are exactly as they sound – they’ll get the job done as far as safety goes but can also be taken down, moved, or completely uninstalled if needed. Removable guardrail systems are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes but all of them do pretty much the same thing. Simplicity is the main point of these railings, and they’re as safe and secure as it gets.
360 Mobile Safety Railing – This is a freestanding roof safety railing system that’s designed for flat roof protection. It’s OSHA compliant, so you won’t have to worry about getting up to code. The system utilizes cast iron bases to keep it in place – the railings are completely non-penetrating. They’ll allow a passive barrier for employees while still providing complete protection from falls. The system allows for quick installation as well, so you won’t spend days on set up.
Permanent Rail System – Simple and inexpensive, these fall protection systems will get the job done. They’re usually floor mounted and pre-fabricated, so when they arrive you’ll only need to mount them to the surface yourself – no fittings, pipe cuttings, or modifications are required. These pair will with a rooftop ladder. Permanent systems are extremely easy to install, the only downfall being that they are, in fact, permanent.
Rooftop safety in your commercial business is an extremely important issue that needs to be continually evaluated and inspected. As a business owner, you’ll have a good number of options when it comes to protecting your employees.Safety is something that shouldn’t be sacrificed for cost, and the consequences of cutting corners can affect your organization’s financial situation as well as its reputation with the public. Make sure you evaluate your situation accordingly and choose the best solution for your business.