11 Common Sense Roofing Safety (Tips + Precautions) for 2022

Roofing Safety Tips

Consulting with the latest industry statistics, it’s easy to see that roofing is a dangerous job. As a result, it is essential to take roof work safety precautions. Even on the smallest buildings, a fall could cause serious injury. Not only that, but just about every aspect of being up on a roof is dangerous.

The ladders, perimeter walls, skylights, decking, and physical exposure to the elements can put roofing contractors at risk while working on a roof. That means taking necessary precautions and exercising safety implementations to ensure everyone who ventures onto the roof is doing so as safely as possible.

Roofs are not designed for foot traffic. Still, that doesn’t mean that foot traffic isn’t there. Roof inspections and repairs are a necessity, and these require workers and contractors to have to traverse across metal panels and membranes.

The majority of roofing accidents are the result of trips or falls from heights. This results in hundreds of deaths every year, as well as a huge array of non-fatal injuries that are serious in nature.

That is why implementing the following roofing safety tips is of the utmost importance. Implement these common-sense tips, and you can traverse the rooftops far more safely and minimize your disaster risk.

1) Use Common-Sense

One of the most common sense means of safety is, well, common sense. Use your cautious instincts when up on a roof. Don’t do anything blatantly or obviously stupid; you will generally be okay. It is when people get careless and don’t think that trouble can occur.

Common sense means moving slowly and cautiously. It means watching your footing and knowing where your tools are. It means being alert to your surroundings and ensuring you are doing everything in your power to remain safe and avoid any nasty spills off the roof.

As the saying goes: “common sense isn’t so common these days,” which is sadly the truth. Avoid those careless mistakes, and you could save yourself a lot of pain.

2) Avoid Bad Weather

This is not always an option for contractors because the job needs to be done when needed. But if at all possible, avoiding the elements is another key to safety. It is particularly dangerous when the weather is colder.

Slips and falls happen on iced-over roofs all the time, and there is only so much that can be done when Mother Nature enters the fray. Again, practice caution and be wary of areas with moisture as it can freeze and turn into ice.

In horrible rain and wind, you should avoid the roof altogether. Wind can knock you off balance and send you tumbling to the ground. Instead of looking for the precise, safe wind speed for working on roofs, you should use your better judgment. If it can possibly wait, try to avoid those adverse weather conditions and wait until the situation is optimal.

3) Don’t Use Cheap Ladders

One of the most common occurrences that lead to rooftop accidents is that the ladder is past its prime and should not be used. Think about it: that ladder can be the difference between you safely traversing on the roof and tumbling down to an unfortunate injury. Why would you chance it?

While it is understandable that cost can be a concern, safety should be a greater concern. Invest in a quality ladder that isn’t rickety and wobbly or has been around longer than you have. Get a ladder that is sturdily built and will support you solidly.

4) Dress Accordingly

Mobility and flexibility are important for safe roof work. That is why it is imperative to wear clothes that aren’t restricting yet aren’t hanging off of you. You need to be able to react and move around properly to maintain safety.

Tripping and falling because your pant legs are too loose is not only embarrassing but dangerous as well. That is not a story you want to have to tell anyone from your hospital bed. Keep your pants secure and away from your feet, and you should be able to avoid getting tangled up in your own clothing.

Also, try to avoid wearing clothing that has rips or tears. This just adds to the possibility of snagging on the roof, which adds to the danger. Of all roofing safety topics, clothing should be the easiest to comply with.

5) Wear Proper Footwear

Similarly, having the proper footwear when up on a rooftop is essential. Make certain that you have rubber-soled shoes to get the maximum grip and traction. Slips are the most common reason for rooftop accidents and can be mostly prevented.

A quality pair of slip-proof boots will cost you a little money but consider it an investment in your safety. You will wish you made the investment if you take a tumble from a rooftop and find yourself laid in a hospital bed.

6) Protect Your Head

One preventative measure that seems common sense is headwear. Having a helmet feels like a no-brainer (pun intended), but it would shock you to know how many contractors don’t wear them.

The fact of the matter is that slips and falls happen. Accidents are called that for a reason. Making certain that you are protected in the event of an accident is imperative. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable because you were lazy or careless.

Slap a helmet on your head before heading up to the roof. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but it could save your life.

7) Harness The Power

Believe it or not, plenty of instruments out there are meant to help keep you from hurting yourself while up on a roof. That is why the roof safety harness was created, after all. Simply put, a roof harness keeps you from taking that unfortunate plunge.

Like with any other piece of safety equipment, its use can be avoided because of cost. But again, investing in your safety is something you should be doing. Having a harness will likely save your butt more than a few times over the course of its life, making it more than worth the price of picking one up. Depending on the roof type, you may need steep roof safety equipment.

8) Create Walkway Paths

If at all possible, walkway paths can be welded easily to an existing roof. This gives even and safer footing to those who have to traverse up there. And at the end of the day, that should be the first priority of anyone who has to go up on the roof.

Because they are so easy to add, they should be a must for any roofing contractor. It is just another element of safety that can be implemented to protect both yourself and your workers from disaster.

9) Implement Policies & Procedures

One way to eliminate the laziness that can lead to common rooftop accidents is to implement safety procedure guidelines for your business. Make it mandatory to implement those best practices with punishment for those who don’t follow the rules.

Employees may not like it, but it will protect them from harm and you from any legal harm. More importantly, it promotes safety. Even though some might not want to bother putting those practices into play, they should be used each and every time to ensure that every person from your company who ventures up on a roof is safely protected.

10) Don’t Drink & Climb

You would be surprised at how many people think it is okay to have an adult beverage and get up on a roof. Needless to say, this is a recipe for disaster. This goes for both commercial and homeowner roof safety.

Make certain that you have all of your faculties about you before climbing up onto a roof. Any distractions or limitations can lead to a common mistake that could make you tumble off the roof. Mistakes like these are easily avoidable but often happen due to carelessness and a generally blasé attitude.

11) Avoid Distractions

In this day and age, this is difficult to adhere to, especially for business owners who must be available at all times. But when your smartphone constantly goes off, it just leads to distractions that could compromise your safety.

If at all possible, put your phone on silent while on the rooftop. This will help avoid those distractions that can lead to dangerous situations. If this is just not possible, perhaps pass off message duties to someone on the ground, who can relay the information to you while you are busy on the job.

There are about a hundred other things that you can do to prevent common accidents from happening while on the rooftop. Most of these are simple things that take very little thought or effort; some are investments in the proper clothing and equipment.

The key here is implementing all of these measures to ensure that you and your workers are as safe as possible while in a dangerous position. A little common sense could help substantially cut down on the number of accidents that occur on rooftops, but people just don’t use them. Don’t be like those people; think safe.