A construction safety action plan was devised for the construction industry in light of the findings that this industry has the highest incidence rate for fatalities among major industries. The purpose of the plan was to prioritize areas within the industry for study and define where research efforts were to be concentrated. The occupational classification of roofers and slaters showed a 1.5 times greater incidence rate for accidents than other subcategories in the construction industry. A three part study was made to identify high risk accident categories within the roofing occupation using available injury statistics, to analyze high risk tasks in each category including injury cost estimates, and to develop ways in which the attendant risks could be lowered. Potential hazards to which roofers were exposed included contact with hot substances, falls, overexertions, and irritating or toxic fumes and vapors. When analyzing injuries by costs associated with insurance payments, accidents involving falls from elevations accounted for 34 percent of the injury cost. The handling of barrels, kegs, hand trucks, rolls, containers, and other materials accounted for 14 percent of the injury cost with the back being involved in over one half of these costs. Contact with hot substances, primarily asphalt-oil, produced 12 percent of the injury cost with the most common body parts involved being the hand or upper extremities. The most common cause of accidents involving spills of hot substances was striking the bucket or carrying can with another object. Those workers wearing gloves when an injury of this type occurred were absent from work longer for recovery than were those workers not wearing protective gloves. Roofing work flow charts and related task descriptions for hot roofing operations were listed. Proposed preventive measures included worker instruction on safe procedures, appropriate use or nonuse of protective equipment, proper equipment design, good housekeeping, and application of ergonomic principles.
Division of Safety Research, NIOSH, Morgantown, West Virginia, 46 pages, 17 references