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The many risks faced by roofers

Roofers have one of the most important jobs in any residential housing project. A home is only as stable and protected as the roof. It is literally the first line of defense against rain, hail, snow, ice, wind and much more. New roofs must be installed professionally and up to a very high set of standards, and roofs on established homes need to be replaced every 20 years or so.

As important as this job is, it’s also incredibly dangerous. Let’s take a look at some of the risks that roofers face on a daily basis:

  1. Ground falls. As most people would guess, the biggest danger to a roofer is a fall that ends with them on the ground. Even a short, one-story house means falling around 10 feet. It could be far more. Striking the ground from this height can be fatal and may lead to serious head, neck and back injuries.
  2. Arrested falls. Even a fall that is caught — by a harness, for instance — can be dangerous. A worker could still go over the edge, catch on the rope, and then swing back against the house. These falls can lead to head injuries, broken bones, cuts and lacerations, and more.
  3. Nail gun injuries. Every year, about 37,000 people end up in the emergency room due to nail gun injuries. While many are framers and carpenters, roofers may also use these guns and related tools when installing wood shakes, metal roofing and other styles. There are also serious injury risks from saws, knives, hammers, and other power tools.
  4. Weather-related injuries. The weather can be a serious hazard. Many roofers won’t work in rain because of how slick it makes the roof, but even a bright, sunny day can lead to heatstroke, severe burns, dehydration and other serious injures. Due to the nature of their job, roofers are outside most of the time they’re at work, and any job like that comes with risks.

Falls are what most people think of first when considering roofing risks, and they can be very serious. However, it’s clear that roofers face multiple risks on the job. Those who get injured need to know what rights they have under Ohio workers’ compensation laws.

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