Keeping Crews Safe in Summer Heat

School is out and summertime is here, and with the long days of summer come increasingly high temperatures. Across the country, climbing temperatures are expected in the coming months, and it is critical that safety precautions are in place to protect your workers. 

Based on the latest reports from The Weather Channel, warmer-than-average conditions are expected across much of the northern half of the country this summer. Temperatures will be the farthest above average for parts of Montana and North Dakota, while warmer-than-average conditions will extend from parts of the Northwest southward into Oklahoma and eastward into the Great Lakes and northern New England.

According to OSHA, every year dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat, and 78 percent of heat-related deaths occur between the months of June and August. It has been reported that approximately 40 percent of heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry, with a variety of conditions and heat illnesses that can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition.

With high heat hazards ahead, here are a few tips and resources to help you take the appropriate steps to prepare your crews:

Provide Training

It is the responsibility of the employer to train all team members and workers on heat hazards, signs of heat exhaustion and illness, as well as CPR & First Aid.  A good place to start is to check out OSHA’s resource for recognizing heat-related illness.  You may also choose to run a team training series and hire a professional like Brauner Safety Services to design and implement a safety program to keep everyone up-to-date and heat-ready.   

Water, Rest and Shade

While it may appear obvious, water, rest and shade are three concepts that should be integrated into your daily routine and safety practices. As an employer, it is crucial that you provide your crews with plenty of water, appropriate breaks and rest, as well as shaded areas on the job site. Also, it is helpful to keep in mind the 20% Rule – The rule states than no more than 20 percent of the duration of a new worker’s shift should be at full intensity in the heat.  As they become more accustomed to the heat, the duration of time at full intensity should be increased by no more than 20 percent per day until fully acclimated.

In order to educate employers and the public, OSHA runs a campaign (Water.Rest.Shade) with the intention of keeping more workers safe under high heat conditions. You can learn more about OSHA’s campaign to prevent heat illness by visiting the heat exposure section of their website, as well as find a library of helpful (and printable) resources in English and Spanish. 

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the key to success in safety. When it comes to heat, it is important to have a plan for new or returning workers to gradually increase workloads and take more frequent breaks as they adjust and build tolerance for working in high heat conditions. Additionally, you will need to prepare the job site with appropriate hydration stations and engineering controls (fans, AC, reflectors, ventilation) that can reduce workers’ exposure to heat.

Along with keeping the environment and conditions as cool as possible, employers should have a clear emergency plan in place, as well as ensure that drinking water is always replenished and close to the work area.  As with any safety plan, first aid practices should be clearly understood by your team, and all personal protective equipment (coolmax clothing, wide brim hats, sunblock, etc.) should be readily available and provided by the employer. 

No matter how high the temperatures get this summer, your crews can stay safe and hydrated on the job with proper preparation and training. To learn more about how Brauner Safety Services can prepare your crews with proper safety training, including CPR and First Aid and the latest CERTA, OSHA 10 and OSHA 30, contact Brauner Safety Services.

Are You Ready for the National Safety Stand-Down?

This year, the National Safety Stand-Down takes place from May 1st through May 5th. The purpose of this OSHA-led event is simple: To prevent falls in construction.

There is no denying the facts: Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, accounting for 378 of the 986 construction fatalities recorded in 2021 (BLS data). The truth is that most, if not all, fatalities from falls are preventable. Fall protection measures (education, training, safety equipment) save lives, and the National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.

So, what is a Safety Stand-Down? A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event that provides an opportunity for employers to communicate with their employees and teams about the importance of safety on the job. Participation is easy, and any workplace can hold a Stand-Down by simply scheduling time to focus on “Fall Hazards” and reinforce the importance of “Fall Prevention”. Even companies that are not regularly exposed to fall hazards can utilize the event as an opportunity to have important conversations with their employees about other job hazards, appropriate protective measures, and company safety policies and procedures.

There are a number of ways that your company can conduct a Stand-Down next week. Some of the ways to participate include holding a toolbox talk, conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or holding company-wide discussions to address specific job hazards. The week-long event provides flexibility for managers to plan an activity that works best for their needs and schedule.  You may also choose to partner with another group by finding an event near you. If you choose to hold your own Stand-Down, OSHA provides an easy guide on how to prepare for a successful Stand-Down.  Once you complete your program, you can print a certificate of participation directly from OSHA’s website. Also, don’t forget to share your Stand-Down story on social media and demonstrate your commitment to safety by using the official event hashtag #StandDown4Safety.

While you and your crews should be practicing fall prevention safety and hazard awareness every day, the National Safety Stand-Down provides an opportunity to have meaningful conversations and conduct safety training activities that connect team members and reinforce the importance of safety policies and procedures on the job.

To learn about safety training programs and improving your company’s safety plan, contact Brauner Safety Services.

Service Spotlight: CERTA Training

As any roofer can tell you, there are numerous risks that they face on the job every day. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roofers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, as well as one of the highest rates of occupational fatalities. And while there is no way to eliminate all risks that are associated with roofing, there are certainly solid and proven methods for reducing and mitigating such risks. In addition to using the appropriate safety equipment, crews can and should receive regular safety training to be prepared and safe on the job.

Today, we are highlighting a specific training that is in high demand – CERTA. In fact, CERTA training is in such high demand that Brauner Safety Services has dedicated an entire website to it ( So, what is CERTA Training?

CERTA training demonstrates how proper roof system configuration design and application techniques can result in fire-safe installations. The current CERTA program provides the best practices and newest industry requirements for torching activities through a certification program where authorized trainers deliver effective behavior-based training to roofers. There is no comparable program available in the roofing industry.   

According to NRCA: “The CERTA training program is ideal for contractors whose work involves torch applications.  The full-day program trains experienced roof system installers on the safe use of roofing torches used to apply polymer-modified bitumen roofing products. CERTA training shows how proper roof system configuration design and application techniques can result in fire-safe installations.”

In addition to properly preparing roofers for torch activities, CERTA training provides many benefits to a company’s bottom line and reputation. Benefits include but are not limited to insurance savings, hazard/liability control and employee safety. CERTA training lowers the risk for roofing contractors, assures compliance with insurance underwriting guidelines and reduces exposure of personal and corporate assets.

Not only is this particular training important, but who you choose to train your team is critical to your success. When choosing a CERTA trainer, it is important that they meet high standards and qualifications. Consider the following:

How long have they been providing CERTA Training?

You should choose a provider with at least 30 years of experience and a proven success record in the industry. Jim Brauner possesses more than 30 years of experience in the roofing industry and a comprehensive understanding of contractors’ needs and methods for training crews to be prepared for a variety of situations.

Can they provide an extensive list of references?

Talk to previous clients and check their reviews. Brauner Safety Services has been endorsed by the trusted insurance provider to the roofing industry (Rob Foote – Furman Insurance). When discussing Brauner Safety’s CERTA program, Rob Foote stated: “Brauner Safety Services is our leading safety and loss control partner… Since Brauner Safety Services began providing CERTA training for our clients, their torch losses in our roofing portfolio are zero. Historically torch losses in the roofing industry average a minimum of $1M a month in financial loss.  Jim’s ability to engage both field staff and operation leaders on torch application techniques clearly delivers a reduced risk and enhanced efficiencies for our roofing clients.”

How many CERTA classes have they taught?

At Brauner Safety Services, Jim is the leader in CERTA training, with approximately 500 CERTA classes taught; he has a long history as an instructor for NRCA’s Train-the-trainer program, so you are learning from the instructor who trains the next generation of educators in CERTA.

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

Roof Safety 101

As most roofing professionals are already aware, a successful workplace safety plan is multifaceted and must address potential hazards both on the job and in the office. When it comes to roof safety, you most likely already have a solid set of policies and procedures that your team follows to ensure the well-being of everyone on the job. That being stated, the skills and knowledge regarding proper safety protocol must be practiced and tested on a somewhat regular basis to enforce lessons and maintain awareness at all times. As with anything, if a skill is not used or needed, it often becomes a weakness, leaving your team vulnerable to hazards that could have been prevented.

For this reason, Brauner Safety Services highly recommends that all contractors train and retrain their team members. From the newest person on the job to your most seasoned roofers and foremen, everyone can and will gain strength in safety through repetition and regular training.

To jumpstart your refresher and get your team focused on safety, here are a few basic tips that any roofer can follow…

Year after year, falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry. To protect roofers, contractors, subcontractors, and clients from serious injury and death, it is important to identify hazards when working on rooftops, as well as follow basic safety steps to control those hazards. Here is a quick view of some of the most common rooftop hazards that should be identified and controlled to keep your team members safe:

  1. Fall Hazards – With fall protection being at the top of OSHA’s most frequently cited standards list, it is critical that all hazards are identified and handled prior to beginning any job. Factors to consider include structural strength, holes, guardrail placement, ladder location and maintenance, quality of fall protection and safety equipment.
  2. Tools – A variety of tools are required to complete any roofing project, and the proper use, maintenance and storage of those tools is essential to maintaining a safe environment. Just one tool in the wrong place can lead to slips and falls, and defective equipment can lead to injuries to both the structure and your team.  For this reason, it is essential that you have a solid set of guidelines in place for handling equipment and power tools on the job, along with proper training on how to use them (especially torches – see
  3. Weather – From extreme heat and cold to lightning and high winds, roofers are exposed to high risks associated with weather. Something as simple as a toolbox talk before you start the day could be an easy way to address any weather-related concerns and assess if it is safe to be on the roof and how you will mitigate such hazards.
  4. PPE – Personal protective equipment is an important part of your team’s resources, and as an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that all team members have access to and are properly using PPE. Such equipment may include but is not limited to non-slip footwear, gloves, hard hat, eye protection, fall protection, hearing protection, respiratory protection, weather gear, etc.
  5. Signs – According to OSHA, there are three types of safety signs—danger signs, warning signs, and caution signs. It is important to have all appropriate signs placed where and when necessary.
  6. Cleanliness – All it takes is a single misplaced nail or small tool to cause a slip on the roof. It is vital that your team makes a conscious effort to keep the roof clean and free of items that can cause accidents or materials that can obstruct or limit visibility of the roof.
  7. Guardrails – In addition to the use of guardrails for fall protection, skylights and other openings should be properly guarded and labeled with visible warning signs to prevent falls. Safety equipment such as Safety Rail Company’s skylight guards, screens and barriers can offer additional protection for skylights.

While it would take well more than a single blog post to cover everything you need to know about roofing safety, the above listed areas provide a good place to start for thinking about and developing your safety plan. Brauner Safety Services can help take the guesswork out of creating a safety plan and training your team. In just one click, you can book a consultation where Brauner Safety Services will create a customized roadmap for your team’s safety and success on the job. To learn more and reserve a training or book a consultation, contact Jim Brauner today!

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