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In 1986, the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA) in conjunction with industry organizations, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, and United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers developed a curriculum to train roofing workers in the safe application of torch-applied roof systems. This program was named the Certified Roofing Torch Applicator (CERTA) program.
With continuing changes in technology, federal regulations and work practices, it became necessary for MRCA to revise and update the CERTA program. With the cooperation of contractors, manufacturers and other associations, MRCA created the ad-hoc CERTA Committee.
In 2003, insurance industry representatives approached NRCA to address concerns about increasing incidents and losses occurring during roofing workers' torching activities. NRCA recognized torching activities are and will continue to be a major part of the roofing industry, and roofing workers traditionally have been trained on torch use with on-the-job techniques. On-the-job training methods typically focus on application skills without adequately addressing safety concerns. The need for focused safety training addressing torching activities became apparent. NRCA arranged with MRCA to adopt and revise the CERTA program. The current CERTA program provides the best practices and new industry requirements for torching activities.
In 2007, NRCA retained Hughes Associates INC., a nationally recognized fire consulting firm, to help plan and conduct a test program designed to investigate heat transmission through component layers of torch-applied polymer-modified bitumen membrane flashings during installation over combustible roof decks. Based on the findings, the CERTA guidelines were revised. Direct torching over combustible substrates (with specific stipulations) was allowed. For additional information about the testing program, see "Fahrenheit 570."
CERTA delivers these requirements through a certification program where authorized trainers deliver effective behavior-based training to roofing workers. MRCA continues to work with NRCA to make sure the program is up-to-date and of the highest quality. There is no comparable training program available in the roofing industry.