Whether you are installing new roofing, making repairs, or conducting an inspection, your first concern should be making sure that you and those working with you stay safe. Remember that safety includes being aware of your environment, protecting yourself against falls, and preventing equipment from sliding off the roof. Taking the necessary precautions before you access your roof will help to mitigate dangers.
Before you climb up onto your roof, you should consider at least the following two environmental concerns:
1) The weather—Precipitation is not the only weather factor that can make climbing up onto your roof a problem. You must also consider wind speed. Wind does not have to reach hurricane speeds before it poses an issue. If a wind is strong enough to cause you to lose your balance, then you do not want to climb up on your roof. Remember that a strong wind can also blow shingles, boards, or even tools off of your roof.
2) Low-Hanging Wires—A low-hanging power line can cause an electrical hazard, so you will want to note the presence of low-hanging lines and consider having the power turned off to these lines before you climb up to your roof.
Protecting against Falls
To avoid falls, consider the following two categories:
1) Ladders—Make sure you only climb a ladder whose feet are firmly on the ground. Also, you should adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations for the angle between the ladder and the building you lean it against. A ladder with a steep angle is more prone to fall. Finally, have a second person around to hold the ladder before you start to climb it.
2) Footwear—Make sure you use boots or shoes that have a soft rubber sole, which will help to increase the friction between your feet and the roof. Slick-soled shoes will increase the risk of slipping and falling.
When you climb up onto your roof, you should limit the number of tools that you leave lying around. Use a tool belt to hold screws, nails, and other fasteners you might need. The same tool belt should have sleeves or pockets for holding utility knives, pencils, hammers, or other tools you might need. If you will be using a pneumatic nail gun, inspect the gun itself, its hose, and the compressor. In particular make sure the hose is long enough to reach the area of the roof you will be working on. Don't try to move the compressor or get more reach by pulling on the hoses. Putting extra stress on the hoses can create cracks that will affect the function of your equipment. Click here for more information on equipment and equipment safety.
When it comes to safety, remember that no matter how drastic the damage to your roof is, you shouldn't expose yourself to unnecessary risk. The above steps will help to ensure that you and those working with you stay safe while accessing your roof.