Working on a roof may seem simple, but there are many steps you need to take to ensure your safety. Whether you’re doing a project at home or if you’re a professional contractor, it’s vital to keep safety regulations at the front of your mind while working on a roof. Here are 7 different things you can do to stay safe while working at heights.
1. Be Clear Who Is And Isn’t Allowed On The Roof
Controlling who can access the work area is significantly helpful in creating a safe work environment. People need to check-in and alert others before heading up to the work site. The problem with letting people access the roof whenever they want is you don’t know what they’ll be exposed to while unsupervised. If your contractors or employees are exposed to something harmful, you’ll likely be held responsible.
2. Have Regular Inspections For Your Building’s Roof
Even if you’re not currently working on your roof, it’s important to have it regularly inspected. Regular inspections prevent things like rot from taking over. It’s vital to identify soft spots on your roof before they get out of control. All your inspections need to be documented and dated so people can easily refer back to them. There should also be a rule that you can only access the roof if an inspection has been done within a certain time frame.
3. Use The Buddy System When Working At Heights
No one should be working on a roof alone. When you’re working on a roof, you quickly become isolated which can lead to bad circumstances in case something happens. Your employees should only work on the roof in teams of 2. Having an extra set of eyes will help you spot something out of place and ensure all the safety checks are done properly.
4. Establish A Rescue Plan
Your employees need to have an idea of what to do in case someone needs to be rescued. Situations like someone getting locked out or having a medical emergency while on the roof need to be planned for. It’s worth having a portion of your team trained and prepared to act in case one of these situations arises. You also need to have the proper fall arrest systems and other equipment to execute a rescue.
5. Use Ladders Properly
Even though ladders have been around forever, people still continue to misuse them. When inspecting a roof, you should use an extension ladder. Extension ladders must be placed on a sturdy, stable structure in order to be secure. It’s also important to remember not to step on the top 3 rungs and to keep your waist below the roof line. Make sure you conduct a quick inspection of the ladder looking for rust and weak spots before you start using it.
6. Only Work In Good Weather
When working on a roof, your job becomes immediately more difficult if the wind starts gusting or if it starts raining. Getting off a slippery roof or walking down a ladder in strong winds are both dangerous situations. Avoiding working in snow, strong winds or rain is an integral part of roof safety. Try and keep up with the weather report before heading up on the roof.
7. Ensure You Have The Proper Safety Gear
Having the right gear will make staying safe much easier. It’s worth investing in a quality pair of boots with strong tread to minimize the risk of slipping. Everyone working on a roof should have a hard hat and goggles to protect their eyes from flying debris. It’s also important to have a quality tool belt so you can keep your hands free and focus on maintaining your balance.