Staying Safe on Your Roof
May 13, 2018
Roofs can be hazardous places for anyone, but for someone who isn’t aware of the dangers, getting up on your roof unprepared can be deadly. If you need roof repairs or a roof inspection, it’s best to call in a professional to do the work. However, if you must get up on the roof, make sure you take every precaution and stay safe.
Pick the Right Day
Choose a dry, calm day with no chance of rain, and preferably not a day after it’s rained. The roof should be completely dry before you step foot on it. You should also be careful of what time of day it is, as you don’t want the sun in your eyes.
Gather Everything You Need
As well as a sturdy ladder, you’ll need a safety harness and strong rope, and soft-soled shoes with grip. Don’t overlook the importance of your safety harness and rope. In the event of a fall, a rope could well save your life, and the few extra minutes it takes to put it on and anchor it is time well spent.
When you buy your safety harness, ask the assistant to show you how to correctly put it on, adjust it, and connect the safety rope. Use a rope with at least a 700kg breaking strain, and throw the rope over the top of your roof, securing it to something sturdy on the other side using a bowline knot. Be sure the rope isn’t too long, as you don’t want to hit the ground if you do fall.
The Right Ladder
You’ll need a good extension ladder that extends higher than the edge of your roof. Position it in on flat, even ground, and angle it at least a quarter of its length from the gutter line, and not in front of any doorways. The ladder should not wobble at all as you place your weight on it, and be sure to have someone holding the ladder for extra safety. Never attempt to go up on the roof alone.
Where to Walk on Your Roof
Once you’re up on the roof, it’s important not do any more damage by walking in the wrong place. For tiled roofs, place your feet where the bottom of one tile overlaps another to avoid cracking the tiles. For metal roofs, walk along the lines where the sheets of metal are fastened to the roof beams.
Other Safety Considerations
If you have children, keep them away from your ladder and don’t ever let them climb up on the roof with you. The only one up there should be you, wearing a safety harness and rope. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable while you’re on the roof, climb down and call a professional. Some jobs should be left to the experts.
If your roof has a particularly steep pitch, you can use toe boards or roof jacks for added stability, but only a professional who’s used to working at heights should be working on a steeply pitched roof.