The Colorado Roofing Association and OSHA are reminding homeowners to exercise caution when hiring door-to-door contractors after hailstorms recently hit residential areas across the state.
Even though a contractor might be cheaper, that doesn’t mean they are the most reliable. Homeowners anxious to protect their property and their wallets should be aware that some companies put profits before their employees' safety and well-being, and could wind up costing their customers even more, OSHA warned.
Many of these companies lack insurance coverage for both their employees and any property damage that might be caused on the job. In addition, they typically fail to provide fall protection for their employees to prevent serious injuries or worse, which means the homeowner might be held accountable if a worker is hurt or killed in the event there is no insurance.
In Colorado, lack of fall protection equipment in the most commonly cited violation in the state's residential construction industry, according to OSHA.
A contractor also may be unable to pay the homeowner for damage they cause and leave the customer to foot the bill, according to CRA. The organization has joined with nonprofit, government and business organizations to create the "No Roof Scams" public education campaign - an effort to remind consumers to use a properly licensed contractor with required permits to do the work.
"The Colorado Roofing Association's message to homeowners is very clear: 'Hold your contractors accountable. If you don't, you may be putting your home at risk'," David Nelson, OSHA's area director in Englewood, Colo. in a statement. "Consumers must ask and get answers to many questions."
OSHA also cautioned the individuals at their door offering roofing services are not employees of the company they represent. The actual work crew will likely be a subcontractor of another subcontractor. Homeowners must be diligent, avoid any pressure to make a quick decision, ask many questions and get answers in writing before agreeing to or signing anything, said OSHA.
Questions homeowners should ask include:
- Who will install the roofing material?
- Are these workers insured?
- How will the project be managed, and by whom?
- Who is responsible to complete warranty work if there is a problem?
- What kind of fall protection will workers use?
Since 2015, six industry workers have died after on the job falls in Colorado. In the same period, OSHA has conducted 228 roofing inspections and issued 573 citations with proposed penalties totaling more than $1.7 million. Of those citations and penalties, fall protection violations accounted for 228 citations and $911,000 in penalties, according to OSHA.
OSHA recommends consumers researching companies thoroughly before accepting a bid to perform work, visiting www.coloradoroofing.org for the CRA's tips on finding quality contractors, checking for consumer complaints filed against contractors at the BBB's website at www.bbb.org, reviewing a contractor's history of safety violations at www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.html and, above all, choosing a reputable, safety conscious company to do the work.