WASHINGTON — Falls from elevation continued to be a leading cause of death for construction professionals in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); however, these fatal accidents were preventable.
In order to bring awareness to this issue, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), a trade association representing North America’s asphalt roofing manufacturing companies and their raw material suppliers, is supporting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in its National Safety Stand-Down Campaign. The event takes place May 8-12 and urges workers, employers and safety associations around the country to step down from their ladders, scaffoldings, roofs and other high places and dedicate time to worker safety and fall prevention.
According to the BLS, 337 workers died from falls on construction sites in 2014. These numbers rose to 350 out of the 937 construction industry fatalities in 2015. Of the 4,836 fatalities that occurred across all industries in 2015, 648 were caused by falls. Falls remain a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited OSHA violation.
“We know roofing professionals are highly skilled and know to take every precaution while working at high elevations, but sometimes they need a reminder to do so,” said Reed Hitchcock, executive vice president of ARMA. “We encourage our members to observe National Safety Stand-Down in order to minimize accidents in the workplace by raising awareness of an important issue that impacts the entire roofing industry.”
ARMA also wants property owners to participate during National Safety Stand-Down. While OSHA regulations may or may not necessarily apply to them, being safe on a roof always does. It is best that homeowners stay off their roofs and conduct any inspection from the ground. For any maintenance, repair or replacement project, ARMA recommends that a professional roofing contractor be contacted.
Homeowners and professionals alike can use the hashtag #StandDown4Safety on social media to participate in ongoing efforts to raise awareness for the campaign. Participants can share photos of themselves holding certificates of participation, attending Stand-Down events, or sharing their own safety initiatives and stories.
ARMA has been dedicated to worker safety both in its members’ manufacturing facilities and on roofs over the last three decades. ARMA has recognized member manufacturing facilities that have high safety records and significant incident rate improvements. ARMA is devoted to spreading key safety techniques and best practices and its members are united in their dedication to safety.
“Fall prevention is important for any line of construction work but it is especially important for roofing professionals who are working in high elevations,” said Dean McKenzie, Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction. “We hope the collaboration between OSHA and ARMA on the National Safety Stand-Down campaign can bring more awareness to fall prevention and help others show their support for this issue.”
To learn how to partner with OSHA during the Stand-Down, get information on how to conduct a successful event, obtain resources for employees and workers, receive a certificate of participation, and get the latest news, visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown. For more information about ARMA, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.
The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is the North American trade association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of bituminous-based residential and commercial roofing products, roll roofing, built-up (BUR) roofing systems and modified bitumen roofing systems. For more information, please visit www.asphaltroofing.org.