Roofing Safety Tips

roofing safety

Roofing safety must always be your first priority when doing any kind of roofing work. Roofing jobs are one of the fourth most dangerous jobs in the United States. Don’t push your luck and let a preventable accident happen. Take these roofing safety precautions to avoid injury or even death. 

General Roofing Safety

Following proper roofing safety procedures before you start on any work is the first step to take when doing any sort of roofing project. Take note of every potentially dangerous area in your site, like power lines and unsafe roof access areas.

Once you are on the roof, do the following:

  • Make sure your work area is clean, organized, and blocked off from pets and kids.
  • Never go on a roof when you are alone. Always have someone with you, just in case.
  • Never work when the roof is wet or slippery or during a windstorm.
  • Avoid working on your roof in extremely hot or cold weather. Extreme temperatures can damage shingles and prevent them from sealing or lying properly.
  • Wear the proper shoes for a roof. Soft-soled footwear works especially well. 
  • Take advantage of the fall-related safety equipment available. Wear protective headgear and goggles when going on your roof. Look into a safety harness and ropes with a roof anchor. Toeboards and brackets that you can walk along are great safety roofing precautions. 

Ladder Safety

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 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 they designed it 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 get 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, you should place your ladder base 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 you must erect a barricade 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.

Electrical Safety

One cannot stress enough how vital it is to be careful around power lines. Proper roof safety goes beyond the roof itself. If you cannot avoid power lines, call your utility company before you begin any work.

  • Make sure you are using a wooden or fiberglass ladder instead of metal and be extra careful when using metal flashing. Remember that electricity can jump or “arc” to a metal object several feet away.
  • Always keep ladders at least 10 feet from electrical lines to avoid electrocution.
  • Never touch hot wires with your hands or tools.

Nail Gun Safety

A nail gun is a dangerous tool and can easily become a weapon. So, 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 clean, 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 finish using a nail gun, and never work on the tool while it is connected to the power supply.

Roofing Safety When Handling Materials

  • It will surprise you how much material goes into most roofing jobs. People try 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.

Final Thoughts

Don’t trust your roof to just anyone. We always recommend you hire a professional roofing company for any work done on your roof because we are trained in all the safety protocols and more. We have a proven reputation and have over 20 years of experience. If you are ready for a new roof, give us a call today at (636) 699-0449.