Herny Staggs, RRO
April 26th, 2020
As soon as we knew the stay at home order was inevitable, the roofing industry stepped up and lobbied for classification as an essential business. Arguments that leaks can lead to mold or higher insurance rates came into the mix, and many other points as well to prove that we are essential. I was on the fence, and still am, about whether or not all roofing work is "essential" perhaps some roof work might not be as essential as some other roof work. It is debatable, but still, the stay at home order is real, and other restrictions are in place. Such as wearing a mask in public, staying six feet away from other people, and so on. Even if you are an essential business, you are still required to follow these other protocols.
Today I found this article "Roofing business cited for non-essential business violation" and assumed that in whatever state this was in, they must have broken down what is essential and not essential concerning roof work. But that is not the case at all, as it turns out the company has been conducting their training without PPE and social distancing. The company has been turned in for this before, and by its employees who are concerned about their health and wellbeing. Some would say "just get another job then," but that is not exactly how it works; in our current economic environment, no one wants to risk their income.
It is the employer's legal obligation to identify hazards and provide their employees with proper protection. The employer is responsible for ensuring their workers with a safe and healthy environment. I don't know any roofers here are playing loose with the rules, thankfully the guys I know are practicing the CDC protocols and, one of the roofers I deal with, called off a site meeting because one of his crew was exposed. So thankfully in Arizona (as far as I know), roofers are taking this seriously.
The question here is what happens to an employee who plays recklessly with his crew, and someone dies? Be it from a fall or a COVID infection? In some states, roofing contractors were charged with manslaughter. And are looking at prison time for a death from a fall. So what happens when this crisis is over, and we start learning about roofers who were infected at work?
Please stay safe no matter what, whatever the hazard is, don't play loose with your life and especially not the lives of others.
Henry Staggs, RRO
Roof Consultant and Roofing Industry Advocate