A story is floating around about a contractor who was performing a torch down job on a commercial roof. The foreman and his crew were closing the site as they had completed their work for the day. The foreman performed a visual and touch check on the deck to make sure it was cool and not a fire risk.
Later that night they received a frantic call from the building owner; the building was engulfed in flames. The fire department was unable to save the building and it was a total loss. As a result, the contractor’s license was cancelled and a huge insurance claim was paid.
One thought popped into my head; did the foreman walk the whole roof? Maybe the foreman only checked the immediate areas where the torches were being used. More and more OSHA is tightening the clamps on these types of jobs. Earlier this year Roofing Magazine ran an excellent article on roof fires resulting from torch downs. Some key takeaways include:
- A fire extinguisher must be immediately accessible for all torch-down work
- A fire extinguisher is needed within 50 feet of anywhere where more than 5 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids or 5 pounds of flammable gas are being used on the job site
- No one on a job site can be more than 100 feet from a fire extinguisher at all times
- There must be at least one fire extinguisher for 3,000 square feet of work area
- A fire watch person should be posted to immediately address any possible smolders or flare-ups
- The fire watch person should remain on post for 30 minutes after the torch-down job is finished for the day
Per the NRCA torch program and OSHA requirements for working with torches, at a minimum roofers should have proper 4A60BC Fire Extinguishers in case of flare ups and an Infrared Thermometer to scan the deck for hot spots that are undetectable to the human eye. Pricing for infrared thermometers have drastically decreased over the past couple of years, while features have increased.
Our infrared thermometers have the added benefit of a laser pointer to help pinpoint the hotspots on a deck as well as a spotlight for off hour jobs.
Speak with a Roofmaster salesperson today to learn more about fire safety and prevention