The person in charge of safety (OSHA defines this person as the “competent person”) needs to make a quick, job specific safety assessment. Identify the ground to eave height, figure out the slope (or slopes) of the roof, and look for power lines or fixed objects on the ground that could impale a falling roofer. Note any other unique safety hazards. Loose bricks on the chimney, loose felt, uneven slopes on the ground where ladders may be placed. Identify the location of the nearest clinic or emergency room in the event of a serious injury.
Then call everyone together to review special hazards, inspect safety equipment and generally remind everyone of the hazards involved with asphalt shingle roofing. WRITE DOWN your observations, document the group discussion and get on with the job.
Assign someone to install 2 x 6 slide guards (or guard rails) at the perimeter of the roof (every time)! You may choose to do this after the crew has installed the ice dam protection and three courses of shingles). If you plan to use harnesses or lifelines, now is the time for a trained crewmember to install the anchors on the ridge or field of the roof.
At the same time, someone should confirm that the roofing shingles are the right brand and color, and that you’ve got the right accessories in the right amount to finish the job. Sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times contractors have installed the wrong color of roofing (it doesn’t matter why the wrong color is sitting on the job site, you still don’t want to nail them on). And if you need additional materials, it’s a lot more efficient to figure it out up front than to have six workers wait for someone to go get extra hip and ridge when the job is almost finished.
The crew chief should read the KEY instructions (available on ever shingle wrapper). I don’t mean every word of the instructions, but here’s what you have to know before you start, what I call your “Quick Start Guide”.
Sounds pretty basic, but more often than I like to remember I’ve seen contractors forced to tear off and replace a roof because they didn’t use the right offset or nail the shingles correctly. And if the exposure should be 5 ¾ inches and your crew exposes them 5 inches, you’ve just wasted a lot of money.