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Complacency about roof safety can lead to workplace accidents

Keeping roof workers safe should be the priority of building owners and construction companies Nationwide, including Illinois. Too many roof workers suffer severe injuries or even lose their lives when they and/or their employers become complacent. Even companies that have never had to deal with a fall or other roof-related injury must avoid complacency because workplace accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

An aptly named "competent person" must do a hazard assessment before work on a roof starts. This is to identify potential hazards and determine the appropriate types of protection. Factors to include in the evaluation are the height and pitch of the roof and the presence of openings like skylights, ventilation and other penetrations -- also the type and condition of the roof material. Furthermore, the existence or need to install roof anchors, tie-off points to which fall arrest or restraint systems can be secured, and guard rails must be evaluated.

How workers will access the roof needs careful consideration, along with methods to be used to get tools and materials onto the roof. All these considerations must be based upon the safety standards prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Moreover, work on a roof should not proceed unless all the workers have been adequately trained in the safety protocols of roof work and the proper uses of fall arrest systems.

Victims of roof-related or other types of workplace accidents need not be overly concerned about the high medical expenses and the loss of wages if they are unable to return to work for some time. That is where the Illinois workers' compensation system comes in. Injured workers are typically eligible for compensation, and an attorney with experience in dealing with benefits claims can provide valuable support and guidance. Legal counsel can make sure that workers who suffered injuries that caused permanent disability receive additional compensation.

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