Process and Operations

What Are My Roofing Risks?

MRO Q&A is a Food Processing series addressing maintenance, repair and operational issues in food plants.

Q. What are the potential risks (food safety and other) to consider when roofing contractors work at your facility, and what steps should be taken to reduce those risks?

A. From the plant sanitation standpoint, once you have called in a roofing company you have acknowledged that the roof is not doing its primary job of keeping the external environment outside. This usually means that, to some extent, moisture, bacteria or various unwanted chemicals already have made their way into your operational environment. The good news is that your sanitation department has a very good handle on the problem and has probably been working overtime to keep the plant up and running.

These resources are a key element to your roofing project. These are the resources that understand the sanitation impact of roofing repair. The roofing contractor probably does roofing work for various industries, so you should start from the perspective that plant sanitation is your responsibility (everyone else sees it that way) and not the contractor’s. Use your sanitation resources to help you plan your repair or replacement schedule. Any credible roofing contractor would welcome the additional input, and you may be surprised at how creative and efficient this team can be.

From the project point of view, fall protection is the major issue whenever you are working more than 2 ft. off the ground. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect all workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating these hazards. Teaming your sanitation team with the roofing contractor can once again work very well on identifying fall hazards associated with your roofing project before the work begins. This will help to manage fall hazards and focus attention from both parties on prevention efforts. Since the roofing contractor has the background and experience in this area they should understand they have the lead responsibility on this task. Once again working together can produce the creative and efficient team that gets the job done with the best blend of time and money.