General Roofing Safety Tips
If you plan doing some DIY work on your home roof, roofing safety must always be your first priority. If you skip these necessary steps because you’re eager to get the work done fast, there’s a greater likelihood that an accident will happen. Take these roofing safety precautions to avoid serious injury or even death.
Following proper roofing safety procedures begins before you head up to the roof. Take notice of each potentially dangerous area in your site, like power lines and unsafe roof access areas. Once on the roof, be sure to do the following:
- Make sure your work area is clean, organized and blocked off from pets and children.
- Never work when the roof is wet or slippery.
- Avoid working on your roof during extremely hot or cold weather. Extreme temperatures can cause shingles to become damaged and prevent them from sealing or lying properly.
- Wear soft-soled footwear for optimum traction.
- Take advantage of the fall-related safety equipment available to you, such as a harness and ropes with a roof anchor into the framing of the roof structure. Also, toe boards and brackets that you can walk along on are great roofing safety precautions to take.
In addition to roofing safety, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has important safety guidelines for portable ladders. They are as follows:
- Read and follow all the warning labels on the ladder, and never use a ladder that is damaged.
- Avoid electrical hazards by looking for power lines overhead before handling a ladder. Never use a metal ladder near power lines.
- Always maintain 3 points of contact on the ladder while climbing (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand). Keep your weight near the center of the rungs and always face the ladder while climbing.
- Only use ladders and their accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their intended purposes.
- Make sure your ladder is free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
- Do not use a step ladder as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
- Do not use the top rung of a ladder as a step unless it was designed for that purpose.
- Only use a ladder on stable and level surfaces unless it has been secured at the top or bottom to prevent displacement.
- Do not place a ladder on any unstable base to obtain additional height.
- Do not move or reposition a ladder while a person or equipment is on it.
- A ladder used to access an elevated surface (your roof) must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (gutters or eaves). Do not stand on any part of the ladder that extends beyond its support.
- For the safest angle, place the base of the ladder a quarter of the working length of the ladder away from the wall or other vertical surface. For example, if your eaves are 10 feet from the ground, your ladder base should be placed 2.5 feet out from your gutters.
- When working in a location where your ladder might be displaced by other work activities you must secure the ladder to prevent displacement, or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
- Make sure that any locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
- Do not exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating.
- Make sure you don’t have to stretch or reach more than your arm’s length while standing on the ladder.
- Never leave a ladder unattended.
Proper roof safety goes beyond the roof itself. If you cannot avoid power lines, call your utility company before you start working.
- Make sure you are using a wooden or fiberglass ladder instead of metal, and be extra careful when using metal flashing.
- Never touch hot wires with your hands or tools.
Nail Gun Safety
A pneumatic nail gun is a dangerous tool and can easily become a weapon. It should always be handled with extreme care when exercising roofing safety procedures.
- Never point a nail gun at another person.
- Make sure the safety mechanism is working properly, and never tamper with it.
- Only pull the trigger when the “business end” of the nail gun is pressed firmly against the material you intend to fasten. Do not “shoot” nails from a nail gun.
- Make sure your nail gun is properly cleaned, inspected and well-lubricated before use.
- Do not rest a nail gun against your body to prevent misfires.
- Always disconnect the air supply as soon as you are finished using a nail gun, and never work on the tool while it is connected to the power supply.
Roofing Safety When Handling Materials
You will be surprised at how much material goes into most roofing jobs. You might be inclined to carry more than one bundle at a time, but this is a dangerous move, especially when climbing up ladders and walking across steep rooftops.
- Store material close to the roof in order to save time and energy when retrieving material.
- Remember to always lift with your legs rather than your back, and take a break when you’re tired to avoid injury.
- Always follow the shingle manufacturer’s instructions and use the preferred installation and repair materials for your specific roof type.
Not feeling up to it? Absolute Roofing of Southwest Florida can handle it!
Don’t trust your roof to just any contractor. Choosing Absolute Roofing of Southwest Florida assures that you’ll be working with a quality, dependable roofing contractor with a proven reputation for customer satisfaction and a history of following roofing safety to the letter. We are licensed, bonded, and insured and our work is backed by a great workmanship warranty. If you need help with your roofing project, contact us today!