Commercial roofing crews need to be careful on the rooftop, as it’s considered to be among the country’s most dangerous professions, and Royalty is proud of our safety record and programs that we’ve enacted to keep our workers safe on the job. In addition to guarding against falls, handling power tools properly and the like, we advocate protection against sun exposure. This is especially true today, when new roofing systems tend to be white or light colored, which intensifies the sun’s effect. As the hot summer months are approaching, it’s an appropriate time for us to reinforce the message that overexposure can contribute to heat stress, heat stroke and skin cancer.
Stay Cool with the Right Clothing
Staying cool begins with the right clothing. Loose, light-colored clothing is much cooler than tight, dark-colored clothing. Wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants means less sun on the skin and a lower internal body temperature. Here are some specifics:
♦ Cotton clothing helps soak up sweat and exposes it to the atmosphere, allowing for better evaporation and cooling.
♦ Opaque fabrics prevent the sun’s light and ultraviolet (UV) rays from penetrating to the skin, keeping workers protected.
♦ Loose clothing allows maximum breathe-ability and air flow to promote cooling the skin.
♦ Light-colored materials reflect sunlight away from the surface of the clothing, keeping the body cooler.
Stay Protected from Damaging UV Rays
In addition to keeping workers cool, long sleeves protect skin from damaging UV rays. The average t-shirt has a UV protection factor (UPF) of only 5, but there are clothing options that provide a UPF of 15 or higher, which offer much greater protection. Sunscreen should also be applied, and should have a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours, or even more often, depending on the amount of sweat produced.
Good sun-safety practice on the rooftop also means taking breaks in the shade and creating shade for the body with a wide-brimmed hat.
Obviously, sun protection is critical for those who spend their working lives on the rooftop. But commercial building owners and managers will do well to enact sun safety measures for their maintenance workers and others who are regularly on the roof.
At Royalty, we adhere to the viewpoint that our employees are our greatest asset, and our main focus is keeping them safe and taking good care of them on the job. Good rooftop safety includes practices that protect our workers from the effects of the sun.