OSHA’s New Fall Protection Rules

safety-harnessThe roofing industry is in an uproar right now.  Even the NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) filed lawsuits against OSHA to fight the adoption of the new rules.  Well, they are relatively new.  These laws were actually written in 1994 or 17 years ago.  Not that roofers are procrastinators.


All the lawsuits went through the appeals courts and the rules were finally set to be implemented on June 16, 2011.  Roofers were warned that they better be ready because OSHA was going to be out in full force and fine roofing companies $7,000 per person per violation.  With six to eight roofers on a job site at any time, you don’t have to be a math whiz to realize that those fines are going to hurt.


My fellow roofers didn’t really believe that the laws were actually going to be enforced.  Seventeen years of delays taught us all to be skeptical.  Kirkey Roofing took the position that we needed to get off the sidelines, do the right thing for our employees and implement an enhanced safety program that met the 1994 guidelines.  Not surprisingly, safety equipment was hard to find in June.  Alas, the weekend before “zero hour” an extension until September 16, 2011 was granted by OSHA.


I have to admit that initially I was pretty upset that I shelled out thousands of dollars on equipment when the rules weren’t going to be enforced.  You see, in the construction industry, we are constantly undercut by contractors who ignore the laws, rules and regulations.  I don’t know how some contractors sleep at night, knowing they are one visit away from a Worker’s Compensation inspector or an IRS auditor before they have to shut their doors for good.


Then it hit me.  I remember when I was first in the roofing business and I couldn’t sleep at night.  What kept me awake were thoughts of one of my employees falling off a roof and getting severely hurt, disabled or worse.  As employers, we are responsible for the safety and well being of our employees.  As a human being, I don’t know how I could live with myself if something terrible happened to one of my employees.  But, after a few months, complacency began to set in and I slept much better.


A meeting with a safety consultant ruined my peaceful nights sleep when he told me that in southernFloridaalone, 50 construction workers are killed each year due to falls.  That number seems unreal, but read the news inSarasotafor a few months and you’ll be surprised by the number of deaths just inSarasotaandManateeCounties.


I count my blessings that we have never had a serious injury.  Roofing is dangerous work.  Roofing employees deserve to be protected from serious injury.


I may be alone right now in the roofing industry, but I hope that OSHA implements the rules as planned in September.  I also hope they enforce the rules.   It’s going to hurt for a while.  The economy has been tough on the roofing industry.  Profit margins are at an all time low and the equipment is expensive.  Productivity will be hurt which will raise the cost of putting on a new roof.  But in the end it is the right thing to do for roofing workers and will protect the financial stability of roofing companies.


I always try to look at the bright side and keep thinking that maybe we’ll get rewarded with lower Worker’s Compensation rates.   Hint, hint.


For further information:  email  or call (941)  474-2113.

4 Easy Steps To Do Your Own Background Check

Background CheckIt’s never been more important for homeowners to do their due diligence by running a background check on who they hire than in today’s economy. Many contractors are hanging on by a thread and homeowner’s can face great financial loss if they make a mistake.   Recently,  a roofer in West Palm Beach, FL was arrested for bouncing 200-300 checks per month.  Many of these checks were to suppliers.  As a result of the business practices of this roofer, over 30 homeowner’s now face foreclosure of their homes because they could not afford to pay the suppliers and subcontractors who went after the homeowner’s for payment after the roofer defaulted.  This number doesn’t include homeowner’s who had the means to pay the suppliers and had to pay for their roof twice.

With just a few easy steps, you can protect yourself and not be another victim of a desperate contractor by running your own background check.  Below are easy steps with web links that will enable you to protect yourself and make a smart choice.

It’s always a good idea to check out a company with The Better Business Bureau.  The BBB is a good place to start, but unfortunately, you won’t always get the whole picture from these reports.  The Better Business Bureau rates companies based on complaints received.  There are contractors on the BBB site that have ‘A’ ratings, even though the owners of the company or the company itself has had lawsuits, foreclosures, criminal charges or has gone out of business in recent years.

Other resources for you to check are the Clerk of Courts site for your county and the county the contractor resides.  Search the Clerk of Courts site in the company name as well as the owner’s and officer’s to look for pending and past legal action, including lawsuits, bankruptcy, and foreclosures.  Trouble on the clerk of courts could be signs of trouble to come for you.

Follow the easy links below to protect yourself and get the information you need to make an informed decision.


Step 1:  Check with the Better Business Bureau

You will be able to see a record of any complaints received by the BBB in the past 36 months.  You should also note the names of the officers and/or owners to check them out in the links in step 2.


Step 2:  Go to your local Clerk of Courts site

Sarasota County – Criminal Cases by Individuals Name


Sarasota County – Civil Case by Individual’s Name


Sarasota County – Civil Cases By Company Name


Manatee County – Clerk of Courts


Charlotte County – Clerk of Courts


Step 3:  Call customer references

A mix of recent customers as well as customers from a few years ago is good.  Make sure to ask for references for your type of job.  If you have a tile roof, talk to a tile customer, likewise, if you have shingle or metal.


Step 4:  Call credit references

Calling recent credit references will be the best source for recent trends in payment history and could alert you to trouble.  Lawsuits may not have shown up in the Clerk of Courts, but poor payment history could be a warning sign.


What you need to ask:

  • What credit terms does the contractor have with the suppler?   Contractors with good credit have open accounts
  • If Cash only, has the contractor had payment issues?
  • How long has the supplier done business with the contractor?  If it’s a new relationship, ask the contractor for more established accounts.  Contractor’s who have trouble paying their bills often jump from supplier to supplier. Request credit references that they’ve done business with for several years – base it on the time the contractor has been in business.  If the contractor has been in business for 25 years, but only gives you credit references for new accounts in the last few years, beware and ask more questions.  Remember, you could get stuck paying for materials or labor even if you paid the contractor in full.

Don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed about asking a contractor to provide you with the information you need to run a background check and make a wise decision and to protect your home and your financial future.

For more information email: or call 941-474-2113

How a Homeowner Can Prevent Roofing Problems

If you own a home, you know that one of the most important things to maintain is the condition of the roof. It is the first line of defense in protecting the home from nature’s harshest elements such as sun, snow, sleet, hail and wind. Understanding roofing shingle problems and common damages that can occur may prevent issues before they cause you a lot of money in repairs. Most problems are preventable through yearly checks and maintenance but small issues can turn into bigger issues if not dealt with promptly. Then it may be necessary to replace your entire roof if it is damaged beyond repair and this can be very costly.

5 common roofing shingle problems that a homeowner should be aware of include:

  • Missing shingles
  • Warped or buckled shingles
  • Cracked shingles
  • Roof flashing
  • Roofs interior structure

Missing Shingles

If your roof is missing shingles, it opens the opportunity for water and debris to enter the roof and damage its interior. Check the overall condition of the roof and make sure there are no missing spaces or shingles that have shifted over time.

Prevent Roofing ProblemsWarped or Buckled Shingles

Shingles can warp because of consistent sun exposure over a prolonged period of time. The effectiveness of the roofing material will be less effective if damaged. Water is the biggest offender because it causes mold and mildew to develop.

Cracked Shingles

Cracks in shingles will lead to them eventually breaking and can inhibit the ability of the shingles to be effective and stand up against inclement weather conditions.

Roof Flashing

Flashing protects pipe and duct work areas that protrude through the roof. Keep areas clean to prevent debris from entering the roof.

Roofs interior structure

Go into your attic and inspect the roofs supports. Look at braces and trusses for heat, moisture and water damage. Splinters and cracks can damage the roofs beams and eventually weaken the strength needed to support the roof. Regular checks can go a long way to prevent roofing problems.

It is a good idea to call a roofing expert that can inspect the roofing shingles problems and the condition of your roof. Early detection is the key in diagnosing potential problems. Inspectors will advise and recommend repairs that should take place before they could potentially lead to costly preventable issues. Checking the condition of your roof every 2-3 years is all that is needed to keep the structure in good shape and provide effective protection that will last throughout the years.   Contact us today!