Roof Safety Guide

Roofs can be a dangerous place to work because of their slope and the fact its a long way to the ground if you do fall.  Taking the right precautions and working with care will eliminate the conditions that lead to accidents.  In this roofing safety guide we provide 10 tips that will keep you safe when working on a roof.

1. Don’t work alone.  Having a second person available to hold the ladder, help load supplies to the roof or bring them down, or to be available in the event of an accident is wise.

2. Set ladders on solid, flat surfaces.  If the ground is uneven, dig a hole 4-6 inches deep for the ladder feet to rest in.  If the ladder is on concrete or asphalt, make sure there is no sand or gravel beneath the ladder feet.   On a wood surface, consider attaching a temporary board immediately behind the ladder feet to keep them from sliding out.   If the ladder is in a vertical, non-sloped position find a way to secure it to the house.  Always go up and down the ladder backwards, hanging onto the ladder with at least one hand, though both hands are better.

3. Avoid walking on a wet roof if possible.  If it is leaf-covered, remove the leaves before you get on the roof because they can be very slippery.

4. Wear sturdy footwear with good traction to prevent slipping.

5. When working with corded tools, be conscious of where the cord is at all times so you don’t trip on it.  Move tools  and supplies that you are not using at the time away from your work area.  Make sure that you and anyone else working with a nail gun know exactly how to use it before getting on the roof.  If using a circular saw, do your cutting on the ground whenever possible.

7. Keep the worksite clear of debris as you go.  Loose shingles, tar paper, and bundle wrappers can cause you to slip and fall.

8.  Attach a ladder to the roof to supply secure footing, or consider nailing temporary boards to the roof deck to secure a ladder or your feet.  Move them as you work your way up the roof.

9. Keep an eye on the weather.  If lighting or high winds are in the area, get off the roof until conditions are safe.

10. If you simply aren’t comfortable with heights, or feel unstable on a ladder, call a roofer to handle the work on your roof.  Most homeowners don’t feel comfortable with the physical demands of working with heights or on a roof.  It’s a work environment that takes time and experience to get comfortable with, like a new sailor who eventually gets his sea legs.

Conclusion

Good preparation, patience and an extra dose of caution will serve you well in terms of roof safety.  Follow the 10 tips in the roofers safety guide and you will get down the ladder the last time just as safe as you were when you went up it the first time.

 

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