Preventing Cuts in the Workplace Matt Savin, Safety Consultant, FRSA Self Insurers Fund Most of us think that the most common workers’ comp claims in the roofing or sheet metal industry is falls but that is not always the case. Cuts and saw accidents account for a larger number of claims than you might expect, especially since these are usually some of the most preventable injuries. From the employee cutting a shingle while resting it on his leg to removing a safety guard on a saw, you might be surprised how these injuries happen. Of course, the most obvious answer is lack of training. While it is difficult to train every employee in proper use of the tools required for the job and even more difficult to impart common sense usage, it is incumbent on the employer to make sure the employees receive training on how to properly do their job. Properly training your employees to perform their daily tasks can take time but it shows your employees that your company has a standard that must be adhered to. You want to avoid a new employee bringing bad habits from prior employment and always take the time to show them the proper and safe way to perform a task. You must never use your leg or foot in place of a sawhorse or cutting board and always cut away from your body (not towards it!). There are also certain forms of personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be used to help prevent many of these injuries. The most obvious answer to prevent certain cuts is Kevlar. PPE manufacturers have started producing gloves with Kevlar woven into them to help prevent cuts. They also make these gloves with a rubber coating to help with grip as well as to make them water or chemical proof. Of course, next to using proper PPE and training, the use of the proper tool for the job, for instance a sharp blade when cutting material, is also very important. When an employee uses a new blade, it takes less effort to cut the material and there is less of a risk of the material slipping while they are working. To prevent cuts with handheld blades: ■ Train your employees properly on the use of the tools they will be using. ■ Provide employees with the proper and necessary PPE for their task. ■ Keep extra blades on the site or have a way to sharpen the blades you have. ■ Store blades properly, either retracted or in a sheath. ■ Repeatedly stress the importance of a safe and clean work environment.
FLORIDA ROOFING | February 2022
To prevent cuts with saws: ■ Wear proper PPE, gloves, hard hat and safety glasses. ■ Never tamper with safety guards. ■ Disconnect the power supply before adjusting or changing the blade. ■ Properly secure the item being cut so that it does not move or shift. It’s important that employers stress safety practices, encouraging employees to take their time and focus on the task at hand. Work safe and stay safe. FRM Cover boards, continued from page 24
boards making them stronger and thereby increasing the life span of a roof. Additionally, building codes have played a role in the development of cover boards. The need for higher fire and wind uplift performance has driven innovation resulting in higher performing cover boards. It is expected that cover boards will continue adding value to the roofing system and the building owner. Even though using a cover board is an additional step, it has enabled contractors to create a long lasting, more durable roof. The desire for buildings that are energy efficient, high performing and sustainable continues to drive development of products that achieve these ratings as well. As cover boards are becoming more the norm in roofing systems, there is an ongoing challenge to identify what else they can do. How can cover board functions increase? Can they help make roofers work more efficiently? Can cover boards provide more value to the building owner, and if so, what is it? These questions will drive innovation and product development in the years to come. FRM Article reprinted with permission from United States Gypsum Company – USG. For product information, please visit www.usg.com.