Just by virtue of where you are working, roofing can be dangerous. Planning for safe roof work is the first and most important concern of professional roofers; and regardless of the size or scope of the job, safety precautions should never be overlooked. Tripping or a fall on a roof can have deadly consequences, but preparing and planning for safe roof work can be done quickly and with relative ease. Quality roofing need not sacrifice safety regardless if you are working on a residential or commercial job.
Fall protection is the obvious concern when it comes to roofing safely. One of the easiest ways to prevent roof falls is to tie-off. Especially on steeply pitched roofs, but even on flat roofs, you should always wear a safety harness that is securely attached to a structure that can easily support your body weight in a fall. In addition, while roofing in the rain is not advisable due to the possibility of leaks and water damage, slippery roofs can also pose a safety hazard. Whenever possibly, avoid roof work in the rain, snow, frost, or dew and wait for the roof to dry completely before starting your work.
Another important factor in planning for safe roof work is cleanliness. Debris, tools, and other materials left scattered about a roof are trip hazards, and these materials should always be cleaned up. In addition, sawdust, wood or shingle particles, and other kinds of dirt can make the roof more dangerous so regular sweeping is always recommended. Wearing rubber-soled shoes or boots can help prevent slips and falls as these types of shoes provide excellent traction compared to leather-soled shoes.
Ladder safety is equally important with regards to planning for safe roof work. Ladders should be inspected before they are used to make sure they are strong and damage free. In addition, ladder safety is considerably better if you use a gutter-guard. While gutter guards can protect against damage to your gutter, they also provide a more stable support for a ladder. You can quickly notch a piece of plywood to the width of each side of the ladder and attach this plywood to the roof. The ladder won’t damage your gutters while it is held securely so it will not slide sideways.
You should also take some time to learn the local work-safety requirements in your region. Depending on the type of roof and the type of work, you may be required to follow a number of guidelines including how to fasten ladders and crawl boards to putting up guardrails around chutes and hoists. There are even regulations about the kind of mechanical equipment you can use; for example, regulations restrict the use of powered equipment that has the potential to push or pull a worker over the edge of the roof. Still, even for minor jobs, always make sure that you follow safety regulations closely, if only to prevent injuries while doing roof repairs.