Construction work is notoriously dangerous. From the physical problems that arise as a result of working conditions to safety risks themselves, dedicating your life to the labor-intensive work is certainly a gamble. Despite that fact, over 8.6 million people count themselves among the industry’s workforce. Although there are many different fields that fall under the construction domain, a few stand out as particularly dangerous; roofing counts itself near the top of the list. Let’s find out why.
Roofs are inherently unsafe. Not only are roofers always at risk of falling (regardless of weather), but roofs in need of repair don’t usually offer the most stable footing; the typical asphalt roof should last between 15 to 25 years, but that doesn’t mean shingles aren’t going to be missing, loose, or severely damaged. At the same time, your perception becomes warped when you’re up so high; the average roof height of a two-story home is around 20 feet, and inexperienced workers can easily find themselves disoriented. Add in the incline that most roofs possess, and it becomes clear why approximately 34% of roofing fall injuries end up being fatalities. In fact, falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. If you aren’t able to properly judge the area you’re working in, you could end up seriously injured.
Construction season spans from spring to fall. As soon as the weather turns mild, teams are put to work all across the country. Although all crews are at risk of sun damage and extreme heat, roofers get it the worst; they spend the entire day in full, direct view of the sweltering sun. Because the roof then reflects the heat and UV rays back onto them, there is little reprieve. As a result, heat stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion can easily overpower roofers. At the same time, they’re facing severe sunburns and the potential development of skin cancer due to this constant exposure.
By 2016, the professional market for power tools was expected to reach $4.6 billion. Did you know that about two to three of every 1,000 children born in the U.S. has a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears? When you work in construction, you might end up figuring out exactly what that’s like. There are a number of tools and types of machinery that can decimate the eardrums and the delicate bones within, effectively causing irreversible deafness and hearing loss. Anything above 85 decibels (dBA) can damage these structure; because roofers often work with hammers, tackers, and nail guns, they’re at high risk.
Whether you’re working with a new prefabricated building (which 83% of contractors believe reduces waste) or an aging home, roofing is a dangerous job. It’s tough work that needs to be done, but only if preventative measures are taken; only by understanding the risks and taking the necessary precautions can you keep yourself healthy and safe.