National Safety Stand-Down

"Whose Liability is it Anyways?"

It’s the end of a successful 2015 and as a Department Manager I am inclined to sit back and reflect on what my department did well, what we did not do well and on how we can grow the business while continuing to exceed our customer’s expectations.

This type of introspection forces me to look at just what our “business” really is. Sure we at Pro-Bel inspect and load test roof anchors, roof davits and most other types of fall protection equipment. But what service do we really offer our clients?

Clearly it is important to have the Federal OSHA mandated roof anchor/davit inspections conducted, but when I really delve into what we are offer our clients I find myself settling on peace of mind.

The peace of mind we offer is truly a form of risk management in that as a property manager, facility manager or building owner, you can rest assured that the inspection of the equipment by Pro-Bel has been completed by competent, honest and reliable technicians.

Of course this peace of mind is provided if your facility has suitable roof anchors/roof davits which have been designed and engineered for the purpose of which they are being used. What if your facility does not have roof anchors or fall protection? How is Pro-Bel meeting your needs with respect to managing risk on those buildings and how can we be of service moving forward?

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some interesting conversations with Marc Lebel, our Founder and CEO, regarding this very topic and it seemed to me to be a natural fit for the first blog of 2016.

Marc and I are working together to see how we can help building owners identify and manage the risk associated with not only workers performing suspended maintenance work on our clients buildings, but any worker who is accessing the roof. This ranges from your own staff to HVAC Service Technicians. At any given time these workers may be exposed to the hazard of a fall of 4’ or greater and as such some form of fall protection shall be provided by the controlling employer.

Stage FailBut, who is the controlling employer? Is it the owner of the HVAC or window cleaning company or is it the property management firm or the Board of Directors of the condominium corporation? This question (through Marc’s help) has led me to an interesting document which discusses Federal OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy.

In this policy Federal OSHA defines the four types of employers and discusses their responsibilities throughout a project or task. The four types of employers are the Controlling Employer, Creating Employer, Exposing Employer and Correcting Employer.

While I won’t go into detail in this particular blog, I will advise that throughout 2016 Pro-Bel will assist our clients as to what category they fall into and how, by identifying this, they can minimize exposure and risk of civil and criminal liability.

Through a program we are developing, we will identify hazards on a particular project, whether or not there is existing fall protection and develop a program as to how to protect workers from injury and controlling employers from risk of liability.

We will educate our clients on codes and standards, common rigging practices and options available to ensure that any recognized hazards are eliminated.

Our goal is not to just provide our clients with roof anchors or roof davits. We want clients with a risk management issue to know that there are alternatives and assist them in developing a plan to minimize the risk which explores all of the options.

In 2016 Pro-Bel will work with you to explain your liability and exposure when allowing any person on your roof and how to ensure that this access is controlled.

Pro-Bel will be sending out regular updates on this blog throughout 2016, posting data that is both interesting and informative. We look forward to your comments, questions and concerns regarding anything to do with fall protection, roof safety, roof anchors or roof davits.

Yours in safety,

Brent LaPorte

Brent LaPorte

USA Inspections Manager