On the Importance of CERTA Training

With all of the safety measures that roofing professionals have been forced to create and implement in the last year as a result of COVID-19, there has been an increased risk for falling short on industry-specific safety standards and training.  While the pandemic has put all workers (and all industries) at risk, roofing and construction remain high-risk industries that require regular training and reinforcement of industry-specific best practices in order to maintain safety on the job.

While the Fatal Four (falls, electrical exposure, struck-by and caught-in/between situations) are well-known and a given when it comes to addressing job-related risks and developing a comprehensive safety program, training that is specific to certain tools and equipment is equally as important.  The truth is that proper safety is multifaceted and requires dedication to learning and acquiring the skills necessary to identify risks, as well as understand the tools and resources that are available to mitigate those risks.

For this reason, we are focusing on just one of the many safety trainings that is essential for roofing professionals – CERTA Training. 

What is CERTA Training?

According to NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association), CERTA is an acronym for the Certified Roofing Torch Applicator program. It is a training program designed to teach roofing workers how to safely use roofing torches.

CERTA training demonstrates how proper roof system configuration design and application techniques can result in fire-safe installations. In 2003, insurance industry representatives approached the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) to address concerns about increasing incidents and losses occurring from roofing workers’ torching activities. There was a clear need for focused safety training addressing torching activities, and as a result, the CERTA program was developed.

The current CERTA program provides the best practices and newest industry requirements for torching activities.  The requirements are met through a certification program where authorized trainers such as Brauner Safety Services deliver effective behavior-based training to roofing workers.  There is simply no comparable training program available in the roofing industry. 

Upon completion of a CERTA Training program with Brauner Safety Services, participants will be able to:

  • List personal protective equipment requirements for torching activities.
  • Describe basic first-aid procedures associated with torching activities.
  • Explain proper steps and procedures for handling propane gas cylinders.
  • Identify components of a torch assembly.
  • Demonstrate safe assembly, lighting and use of torch equipment.
  • Identify the key elements of comprehensive pre-job inspections.
  • Recognize hazardous areas.
  • Demonstrate safe torching techniques near hazardous areas.
  • Explain post-job fire watch and other safety-related duties.

From a business perspective, CERTA Training just makes sense.  The program offers business owners multiple benefits including but not limited to insurance savings, hazard/liability control, and improved employee safety.  CERTA Training lowers the risk for roofing contractors, assures compliance with insurance underwriting guidelines and reduces exposure of personal and corporate assets.

To learn more about CERTA Training and to schedule your next session, contact Brauner Safety Services today.

Three Ways to Build a Stronger and Safer Business

Job site safety has taken on more pressure, tighter compliance and greater scrutiny as the impact of the pandemic continues to change the way we work and operate as an industry.  It is well-known that the impacts brought on by COVID-19 have been experienced across the board throughout most roofing and construction businesses.  In fact, approximately 70 percent of contractors noted that they had projects cancelled due to the pandemic, and nearly 50 percent were forced to terminate or furlough employees (source: Association of General Contractors).

And while the initial impacts have passed for many, and most companies have transitioned and transformed their operations to meet changing demands, many business owners are still seeking ways to remain efficient and profitable under this “new normal”.  The contractors who are investing in the necessary safety training and solutions to keep projects active and the backlog flowing are finding that they are better positioned for both recovering and strengthening their businesses.

So, what are some of the ways that you can strengthen your business in the face of current challenges?  The answers may be many, but for the purpose of this article, we will review three “T’s” – Technology, Training and Trust:

Technology – Technology is rapidly improving and expanding, and when it comes to the roofing and construction industries, many tools can help in improving safety, communication and efficiency.  Such technology improvements include safety gear, upgraded roofing equipment and wearables.  With safety gear and equipment, it is worth taking the time to review your inventory, take proper maintenance measures, and make appropriate upgrades when an improved product is on the market or your current equipment has exceeded its lifespan. 
As far as wearables are concerned, they are still making their way into adoption by contractors, but use is on the rise.  Wearables can be built into PPE that you already use on the job, such as construction helmets or vests, making them a quick and easy addition to your safety protocol. Wearables can be in the form of various technology including biometric devices, GPS or location trackers, voltage detectors, and slip and fall sensors.

Training – As we’ve explored in previous posts (“Why Safety Training is Important” and “Five Reasons to Invest in Safety Training”), safety training plays a critical role in the success of a business.  With current conditions, safety has and continues to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind as it is vital to the success and strength of a roofing and construction business.  In order for safety to be top-notch, aligned with OSHA’s standards and best practices, safety policies and procedures must be understood and followed – This is where the training comes in.  The truth is that your safety measures are only as good as they are followed.  You can invest time and resources in developing a strong safety policy and protocol, but if employees are not properly trained and that training is not regularly reinforced, then your business is at risk. 

Trust – Building a culture of trust and inclusivity has multiple layers in any business, and when it comes to safety, trust is an integral part of the process.  Both on the job and in the office, employees must feel safe to communicate with each other and upper management about any issues without fear of impacting their status or employment.  Communication regarding safety can include feedback about job site conditions, equipment or other team members complying with policies.  It is also important that the efforts you are making to ensure team members’ safety is clearly communicated and understood.  By informing employees of the safety measures and resources available to keep them safe and successful on the job, you can build a sense of trust and security.

An educated and trained crew is a safe crew, and safety must be a priority for any contractor.  Through technology, training and trust, you can build both a strong team and resilient business that will be able to overcome the challenges of today’s pandemic, and tomorrow’s unknown.

To learn about how Brauner Safety Services can provide assessments and custom safety training programs to ensure that you and your crews are properly equipped and prepared for all conditions on the job, contact Brauner Safety Services.

OSHA to Improve COVID-19 Guidance

The last year has demanded a lot from the construction industry, and really all industries and communities.  In a short time, we have been forced to adapt to new conditions at an unprecedented pace, altering daily operations and job site conditions to meet the level of safety required to stay in business and keep our employees safe.  In addition to the impact that it had and continues to have on businesses, the personal lives and families of every company’s employees and clients have been deeply impacted and in need of support from all angles.

Despite these challenges, the roofing and construction industries continue to march on, and at the start of the new year we have seen new leadership push OSHA to improve guidelines for COVID-19 as they pertain to worker safety.  On January 21, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order that directs OSHA to issue revised, science-based guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the order “Protecting Workers from COVID-19 Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” President Biden wrote, “Ensuring the health and safety of workers is a national priority and a moral imperative. The Federal Government must take swift action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace.”

The order also pushes OSHA to consider the following:

  • To determine if emergency temporary standards (ETS) on COVID-19 are necessary, including the wearing of masks in the workplace. If emergency standards are deemed necessary, they are to be issued by March 15. 
  • Enforcement of worker health and safety requirements
  • Partner with state and local governments to better protect public employees
  • Develop additional resources to help employers protect employees
  • Launch a national program with a focus on OSHA enforcement related to COVID-19 violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk.
  • Coordinate a multilingual outreach campaign to inform workers and their representatives of their rights under applicable law. 

While OSHA had released safety tips and a social distancing alert in Spring of 2020, the recent executive order states that OSHA must review enforcement efforts related to COVID-19 and “identify any short-, medium-, and long-term changes that could be made to better protect workers and ensure equity in enforcement.”

Just as with any safety programs, review and revisions of guidelines are required to ensure that they are meeting the needs and changing conditions on the job.  With new and improved COVID-19 guidance in place, there is potential to not only limit the spread of the virus, but to better track and trace infection in the workplace, and within the industry.

To learn about how Brauner Safety Services can provide assessments and custom safety training programs to ensure that you and your crews are properly equipped and prepared for all conditions on the job, contact Brauner Safety Services.

Article Update (as of 02/04/21): Since this article was published, OSHA has released updated workplace safety guidance for employers that advises the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The guidance does not create new legal obligations and offers advice on safety issues, such as ventilation, workplace cleaning and isolating employees. To learn more, visit OSHA’s National News Release.

Making Safety a Priority in 2021

There is no denying that 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year.  From the struggles businesses and families have faced directly as a result of COVID-19 to the complete altering of how we work, live, and communicate, the only consistent thing throughout the year has been change.  And if there is anything that we can learn as business owners and contractors it is to expect, and be prepared for, the unexpected.

Although there is no way to be completely prepared for every possible event (certainly not a global pandemic), there is a way to lessen the impact of risks associated with your day-to-day operations, both on and off the job site.  As once stated by Dwight Eisenhower, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Taking this statement into account, we know that plans often don’t go “according to plan”, and for this reason is it important to plan ahead.  In contrast to plans, the act of planning forces us to stop and take time to carefully develop and discuss actions that will be taken in any given scenario.  The perfect example of this is your safety policies and procedures.  The planning that is in place for what may occur on the job site is exactly what enables your crews to be aware of potential hazards and to know what preventative measures and equipment to use to mitigate said hazards.

Think about this… According to OSHA approximately 20 percent (1,061) of worker fatalities in private industry during calendar year 2019 were in construction; this accounts for one in five worker deaths for the year.  Looking at the figures further, out of those fatalities more than half (58.6%) were caused by the “Fatal Four”: Falls (33.5% of construction worker deaths); Struck by object (11.1% of construction worker deaths); electrocutions (8.5% of construction worker deaths); and caught in/between (5.5% of construction worker deaths).  All of these hazards can be prevented with proper safety training and use of safety equipment.

Additionally, safety training provides a multitude of benefits that go far beyond basic health and injury prevention.  As highlighted in a previous post, “5 Reasons to Invest in Safety Training”, safety training is an investment that pays back in innumerable ways. It is not only an investment to ensure that your next construction project is a success, but it is also an investment in the success and security of your team members and crews. There is a direct correlation between a contractor’s training programs and its growth, competitiveness, financial stability, and safety record.  A strong and regularly maintained safety program is a solid investment in the success of your business for several reasons:

  1. Reduce Risk – Safety training prepares employees for the unexpected and encourages them to be proactive in identifying risks on the job; additionally, it sharpens their skills and knowledge base, empowering them to make clear decisions and take measures to reduce risk while under pressure and on the spot.
  2. Avoid OSHA Fines – OSHA violations are costly on many levels, including increased risk for injuries and serious damage to a company’s reputation. By securing OSHA training such as OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 by Brauner Safety Services, you can rest assured knowing that your crews are trained in the proper measures to stay safe and compliant with OSHA’s standards.
  3. Build Company Trust – When you provide safety training to your teams and crews, they know that the company is making their safety and well-being a top priority. Proper training increases employee satisfaction, motivation and morale, which builds trust and loyalty between both the employer and employee.
  4. Build Trust with Clients – When you inform your clients that your crews are trained to handle any situation on the job site and are following appropriate safety measures, you provide them with a sense of relief that those working in and around their property will complete the project safely and effectively.
  5. Reduce Costs and Liability – Proper and regular safety training programs reduce accidents and protect employees from injuries on the job.

The truth is that any time is a good time to begin strengthening your safety training program, but with the new year comes new opportunity – So, now is the time to not get wrapped up in “plans” for 2021; rather begin “planning” your proactive safety program so you can be ready for anything the new year will bring.

To learn about how Brauner Safety Services can provide assessments and custom safety training programs to ensure that you and your crews are properly equipped and prepared for all conditions on the job, contact Brauner Safety Services.

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