A roofing project is a major undertaking for even the handiest homeowner. It is hard work and it is dangerous work. The best way to ensure your safety is to hire a roofing contractor to do the job. If you are bound and determined to do it yourself, then it pays to be prepared and to be well acquainted with roofing safety protocols.
Almost all roofs have a pitch, though the degree can vary. A pitched roof keeps snow from collecting on the roof to a weight that the roof is incapable of supporting. It also prevents water from pooling on the roof and reduces wind damage to roofing tiles and shingles. While a pitched roof is good for your home, it can be very bad for you, especially if you have a steeply pitched roof.
Safety begins before you even step on the first rung of your ladder. The safety precautions you take when preparing for your roofing project are as important as your actions once you are on the roof. There are some standard safety measures that apply to almost all projects and there are some that specifically apply to the roof.
As with any project, you should wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. Work gloves to protect your hands and a safety helmet to protect your head are also very good ideas. It is important to wear slip-resistant work boots. You should also wear a safety harness. Tethering yourself to the roof can save your life if you should happen to slip.
The first rule of thumb to follow is to only work on a dry roof. Don’t try to roof the day after a rainstorm. Your chances of slipping and falling off of the roof are astronomically higher if the roof is wet.
You can also prevent slipping by nailing a section of 2×4 to the roof, just below the area you are working on. This will give you something to brace yourself against. Roof sheathing can also help by giving you greater traction. Just remember to lay it with the coarse side up.
While working, try to keep your workspace as tidy as possible. Don’t leave scraps and other debris on the roof. You could trip over them and fall. It is much better to toss them over the side and pick them up later.
While moving around on the roof, look down at your feet. This will prevent you from accidentally tripping over tools and other supplies. It also makes you more conscious of your moments and will reduce the likelihood of slipping.
The importance of safety
As the old saying goes, “better safe than sorry.” That bit of wisdom holds very true when it comes to roofing. If you are careless, you might not even get the chance to be sorry you weren’t safer. A fall from a roof can be potentially fatal. That risk increases with every floor of your house. Following proper safety protocols can mean the difference between a nice finished roof and an extended hospital stay or worse.