Thousands of people visit the ER every year thanks to rooftop safety hazards and slip and fall accidents. With a bit of caution and knowledge, you don’t have to become a statistic. It’s every homeowners’ responsibility to maintain their roof, and also ensure that it’s safe for contractors to inspect. Whether you’re trying to clean the roof or suspect some shingles that are missing, here’s what you need to know about rooftop safety before you climb that ladder.
Why you need to inspect the roof
Checking the integrity of your roof at least twice a year ensures there are no unpleasant surprises. Things like roof leaks, broken seals, and other issues can be quickly mitigated with a routine inspection. Ideally, you should give the roof a once-over in the spring and fall. If the weather’s been rough, then once a season is a good idea.
Homeowners only need to do a quick preliminary inspection to find out if there are major issues brewing. But a roofing contractor should do a more in-depth inspection of the roof. A contractor will know exactly what to look for and in the safest way possible. With that said, read on to learn how you can safely inspect a roof.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #1: Inclement Weather
Don’t attempt to inspect a roof when it’s windy, rainy, or the weather is otherwise threatening. You don’t want to get stuck on the roof when a storm hits. You also want to avoid going up on the roof right after it rains. Moisture will make shingles slippery. Give the roof time to dry out before you head on up.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #2: Incorrect Ladder Placement
Where and how you place a ladder can also impact rooftop safety. Many rooftop slip and fall accidents occur because of incorrect ladder placement. The ladder should be tied to the top of the roof, and the feet should be secure on stable, flat ground. Other ladder placement safety tips for roof inspections include:
- Extend the ladder over the edge of the roof by about three feet. Angle the ladder a foot away from the house for every four feet in eave height.
- Secure the top of the ladder.
- Any rungs above the roof level should not be stepped on.
- Take your hands and feet off the ladder one at a time so you can maintain a safe and secure balance.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #3: Roof Instability
If more than one person will be going up on the roof at the same time, then it’s critical to check for roof stability first. Secure your ladder, and head on up by yourself. A sagging roof, water damage, and other problems can cause an unstable roof to collapse if it has to hold more than one person’s weight at once.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #4: Holes and Openings
Improperly installed or maintained skylights and other holes in the roof can be a safety hazard. Be aware and careful of any potential openings in the roof so you don’t step through a hole and fall in.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #5: Forgetting the Edge of Roof
Losing awareness of the edge of the roof is a common rooftop safety hazard and a mistake you don’t want to make. Falling off the roof can lead to serious injuries and in extreme cases, fatalities. Be mindful of where you are on the roof, and take a moment to think about your location on the roof and how close or far to the edge you are.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #6: Obscured Line-of-Sight
Vents, chimneys, HVAC equipment, and other objects can reduce your line-of-sight when you’re inspecting your roof. Be mindful of these obstructions and always keep in mind where the edge of the roof is while you work.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #7: Split Level Roof Construction
Will you be inspecting a split level roof? Then you’ll need to be especially careful. These types of roofs will have more obstructions on them and uneven levels and edges. You’ll need to be even more aware of where the edge of the roof is between the different levels. Take your time and don’t rush the inspection so you won’t take a tumble.
Rooftop Safety Hazard #8: Steep Pitch
Flat roofs are much easier to inspect than pitched roofs. Your line-of-sight is less obscured, and walking on a flatter surface reduces your chances of falling. The steeper the pitch, the more careful you’ll need to be. If you’ll be removing debris from the roof or scrubbing off moss, then you’ll need to be fully aware of the different objects on the roof. Things are more likely to fall down a steeply sloped roof your way, which can increase your risk of slipping.
Avoiding Rooftop Safety Hazards: A Takeaway Message
The news is saturated with stories about PPE, or personal protective equipment, and healthcare professionals. But homeowners who are conducting a routine roof inspection or cleaning their roof will also need to wear PPE to reduce the risk of roofing accidents. Be sure to wear soft-soled, high-traction shoes or boots. Properly secure the ladder, and be aware of your surroundings.
A professional roofing contractor can thoroughly and safely inspect your roof for leaks and other problems. At Code Engineered Systems, we’re highly experienced with flat roofs, pitched roofs, and every type of roof construction in-between. Give us a call today at 813-373-9088 for free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about our financing options.