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California group aims to improve roofing safety

Employers in California's roofing industry are required by Cal/OSHA to train roofers with regard to safety. Still, from 2008 to 2010, there were 367 roofing accidents in the state.

Roofers know they face serious risks. As you might expect, the most common type of roofing accident is a fall, and falls reportedly account for roughly 30 percent of roofing injuries.

To help raise awareness about safety in the roofing industry, Cal/OSHA has teamed up with a number of organizations, including labor and business groups, as well as safety programs from California universities and the state's labor commission.

The Roofing Compliance Working Group, otherwise known as RCWG, aims to speed up the process for responding to workplace complaints. Those complaints might relate to safety concerns, payroll or workers' compensation.

The group will also work to create safety education materials for roofers and their employers, as well as help employees and employers comply with state and federal safety laws.

While the official rules and regulations are available for review, preventable hazards are still a feature of many roofing work sites. Aside from fall hazards, workers suffer injuries because of the dangerous placement of work equipment.

Skylights, which should be properly covered, are also a serious risk.

The California Code of Regulations offers specific labor standards for roofers.

Unfortunately, when people suffer a work-related injury, they are often treated unfairly by employers and their insurance companies. But that doesn't change the fact that injured workers need and deserve workers' compensation. Injured workers in California may need to explore their legal options for receiving workers' compensation benefits.

Source: safety.blr.com, "California talking--and acting--tough on roofing safety," Sept. 17, 2013

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