Risk Management: Inexperienced Employees Accessing Roof

In an effort to help mitigate the cost of repairs, facility owners sometimes request that their maintenance employees perform roof repair work. However, on some occasions, the in-house repair work has made the problem worse. And on many occasions when we have had to come in behind these situations, the employee repair efforts resulted in increased cost beyond what the original repair would have been if done professionally. Both of these situations are due directly to the lack of roofing repair knowledge and experience of the employees tasked with the work.

However, what’s even more disconcerting is the fact that these in-house maintenance employees often lack proper training in fall prevention, hazardous chemicals, roof-top hazard abatement, and other life-endangering conditions found on most roofs. Even things as simple as proper securement of a ladder and proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are sometimes ignored.

Lack of familiarity with roof-top hazards and lack of documented training (required by OSHA) exposes an owner to enormous risks. Just recently, while performing roof repair work on a building in North Alabama, our employees watched an owner’s in-house repair crew use a metal extension ladder (as opposed to the far-safer fiberglass ladder) to access the roof. They then proceeded to walk along an unprotected leading edge of a roof area, exposing them to a potential fall of over twenty feet.

We recommend all owner’s Risk Management departments or insurance agents communicate proactively with facilities maintenance employees as to the serious risks being undertaken by maintenance employees accessing roofs of their facilities. Trained professionals should be the only persons accessing the roof.

Safety is the key to life and your livelihood. 

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