No one should ever experience the tragic loss of limb, income or – worst of all – life that can result from a workplace fall. Yet statistics show that injuries and fatalities from highly preventable falls occur every year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 751 construction workers died on the job in 2010; 263 of those deaths (35%) were caused by falls. Roofers constantly work at heights, so their profession is particularly vulnerable and at-risk.

As a leading manufacturer of asphalt roofing shingles and related roofing materials, IKO is deeply committed to the safety of those professional contractors and their roofing crews who use the company’s products.

That’s why IKO is a strong supporter the National Stand-Down for Safety to Prevent Falls in Construction” program, initiated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and supported by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA).

Annmeza Szeto, Manager of Health, Safety & Environmental at IKO, describes the company’s involvement.

“The first step in solving any problem is to acknowledge there is one. Even one life lost is too many, especially when it may have been so easily preventable through awareness and education. IKO is supporting the OSHA initiative to help create that necessary awareness. When people are so focused on their daily work, or they’ve been doing the same work for so long that they’re running on auto-pilot, it’s so easy to overlook the most basic safety fundamentals or take them for granted,” says Szeto.

There is a wealth of roofing safety information available. Some of the material is specifically meant for roofing professionals because they are at such high risk of workplace falls, not just from rooftops and ladders but also through skylights and roof openings.

Three main points that everyone involved in working at heights should pay special attention to:

  1. Using proper safety equipment: ladders, scaffolds, harnesses, hard hats, safety glasses, etc.;
  2. Inspecting that equipment to ensure it’s in good working order prior to use;
  3. Training crews in the proper use of the equipment through toolbox talks and certification programs.

IKO also took to social media to support the safety initiative.

Beautiful and safety-oriented steep slope Cambridge application by DeHart Roofing: #OSHA #StandDown4Safety @USDOL— IKO Roofing (@IKORoofing) May 4, 2016

Much of the above information is also available in Spanish here

Szeto expresses her thanks to professional roofers everywhere for their participation and on-going support of OSHA’s National Stand-Down for Safety to Prevent Falls in Construction program.

“Although the campaign has officially ended, never let anyone be a ‘fall guy’,” Szeto says. “The information is out there. We all have a responsibility to take full advantage of it and make sure that when roofers are working at heights, their safety is no accident.”

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