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How To Keep From Sliding Off a Roof

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The need for roof repairs and maintenance is inevitable. During the lifetime of a roof, minor maintenance, cleaning, and repair work will have to be conducted. Though it’s best to hire a professional, some simpler fixes and regular maintenance may be handled by the homeowner. Or you may simply want to assess the condition of your roof, which will require climbing.

When walking or working on a roof, make sure to always follow safety guidelines. This is important not only for your safety but for the longevity of the roof. When it’s time to survey your roof for necessary repairs or basic maintenance, make sure these safety measures are followed to prevent falling off a roof. And if you have any misgivings at all, don’t hesitate to hire a skilled professional.

Wear Rubber-Soled Shoes

When gearing up for roof maintenance, it’s best practice to wear rubber-soled shoes. Though roof surfaces vary, many are slippery and require shoes with good traction. Rubber-soled shoes are the best fit for the job, as they work on all surfaces from slate to asphalt. Keep in mind, when roofing, you will also be handling tools, so traction and grip are critical for roof safety. Shoes with deep treads work best for asphalt shingles while tighter tread patterns are ideal when working on smooth roof surfaces such as slate and metal.

In addition to grip and traction, consider the support your shoe offers. No matter what type of roof you are working on, support is necessary for walking on uneven surfaces. This is especially true when dealing with steeply pitched roofs. A fully supported ankle will keep your feet from shifting within the footbed and will keep you steady on uneven surfaces and help prevent sliding or falling off the roof.

Use a Toe Board

Roofers need to move about freely while working on the roof. They must be able to confidently make repairs and installations, clean and maintain a roof, or perform diagnostics without falling or slipping. A common safety practice is the use of a toe board. Roofers create a walkway by nailing down a longboard, typically a 2×6, mounted on roof brackets. When done correctly, adding and removing a toe board will cause minimal roof damage that can easily be repaired. Roof brackets are nailed or screwed into the roof deck and are used to support wooden boards. These can be used to create a toe hold for roofers. Once again, work with a reputable roofing company with skilled roofers equipped with the knowledge to remove roof brackets properly so they won’t damage the roof and lead to surprise leaks.

When hiring a roofing company, make sure to work with a company with vigilant safety practices. Following procedural safety standards decreases the risk of accidents and injury while prolonging the life of your roof.

Wear a Safety Harness

If the pitch of the roof is too steep or a roof is more than six feet high, toe boards and roof brackets are not enough to keep a roofer safe. In all states, safety harnesses are required by law when working at heights

Whenever using a harness, make sure it’s clipped to a sturdy fixed point and always check your harness and connection points to ensure they’re properly set up. Inspect the hardware and webbing with every use. Is any of the hardware damaged or missing? Are release tabs on buckles working freely? Look for signs of damage with the webbing. Is any of it frayed, or is the stitching coming loose? A safety harness is only effective if it is worn correctly and all components are working properly.

Securely Attach a Roofing Ladder

Most roofers prefer to use an extension ladder. Use proper roofing ladders so you can safely climb up and down. Make sure it’s attached (generally at the gutter edge) an angle of no more than 75 degrees. Also, make sure you have the right-sized ladder so it is at the correct height and angle to prevent slipping.

Use a Spotter

A spotter helps monitor workers and ensures safety at all times on the jobsite. They are also available to respond immediately to any emergencies and call for assistance without delay. Roofing is not a solo job. The best safety practice is to use a safety monitor (in addition to fall protection equipment) to recognize fall hazards and warn roofers.

A spotter must be competent and trained to recognize potential fall hazards. You may be tempted to climb up to your roof alone for simple maintenance and cleaning, such as replacing a shingle or cleaning out rain gutters, but one wrong step can be disastrous.

Take Roofing Safety Training

Proper training is tantamount to safe roofing practices. Hire a company that is committed to thorough safety training for new employees and continuous education for all employees. An effective training program not only teaches best practices on how to keep from sliding off a roof but also includes frequent jobsite safety inspections and regular familiarization with all tools.

Safety programs for roofing are critical and can save lives. According to Oregon OSHA, “falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.” Training should require employees to be CPR and First Aid certified so they can quickly respond to an accident on the jobsite while waiting for first responders. Proper accident and incident investigations can help prevent accidents in the future.

Take care to hire a company that strives to keep its employees safe while providing exceptional services. They will employ the most skilled roofers to do the job right and not cut corners. Professional workers will keep your roof in great shape while keeping you and your family safe.

Look for a company that has been established in the industry for years. If you’re located in the Portland, Oregon, area, contact the award-winning Interstate Roofing. They are dedicated to replacing, repairing, and maintaining your roof while keeping our employees safe and your home beautiful.



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