The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps a close eye on roofing contractors and their workers. They recognize the dangers of the roofing profession and see the vast potential for improved employee safety. As we’ve discussed previously, falls are the number one cause of deaths in the construction industry and have been designated as one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four.” For this reason alone, it’s not difficult to discern why so much pressure has been lumped on the roofing industry.
Fortunately, the roofing industry is an innovative space filled with brilliant minds and problem solvers. This point is illustrated by the actions of Mike Slawinksi of Atlanta. Slawinski designed a remote inspection robot for surveying steep roofs. In this article, our Tennessee OSHA defense attorneys will discuss Slawinski’s story and explain how remote inspection robots can improve safety in the roofing industry.
A Fearful Favor, a First-Rate Fix
One day, Slawinksi’s friend asked him for help performing roof inspections in a subdivision brimming with multimillion-dollar homes. The large homes had steep roofs, making them perilous for the inexperienced roofer. Here’s how Slawinski describes his experience:
I got up on the front of the house and went over to the back side, which was four stories because it was a drop-off lot, and I started sliding down the roof. In my mind I got to two feet from the edge and there was a concrete patio down below. In reality, I was probably more like 20 feet from the edge. I scrambled over to a valley and got off that roof, swearing I’d never get on another roof again.
As a rational human being and an innovative inventor, Slawinski realized that their had to be a safer (and easier) way to perform this task. He experimented with various tools and technologies to make roof inspections from the ground possible, but he had little luck finding a solution. Clearly, something needed to be invented to turn his idea into a reality. And like that, the Roof Rover was born.
The Roof Rover
The Roof Rover is a robotic inspection device that weighs just six pounds. It is equipped with sensors and two cameras that are used for inspecting and driving. The lasers in the robot’s sensors can measure within one millimeter or less of the thickness of a penny, no small feat, and it can perform a variety of functions, including:
- Measure the thickness of shingles
- Discern the difference between a blister and hail dent
- Measure pitch and roll with an accelerometer
- Collect additional measurements with an optical encoder
- Detecting roof edges to keep the device on the roof
- Measure temperatures using a surface temperature gauge
Best of all, the robot requires very little maintenance to remain in working order. Of course, the tread should be replaced every few months since roofs can be extremely hot. Finally, Slawinski recommends keeping an additional rechargeable battery on hand. It even comes with a 15-minute instructional video. Could the Roof Rover help improve roofer safety? Results from testing have been a resounding success, so you can expect to see more technology like this popping up in the future.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.