Roof Safety 101:

There is no safer way to perform work on a roof than by hiring experienced professionals trained in taking precaution to ensure completion of a successful project. However, there are occasions when a homeowner needs to access the roof without the time and expense of acquiring help.

Such tasks that average people can safely attempt include clearing debris from gutters, removing animal nests, freeing clogs from drains, tracking down wayward footballs or kites, installing (or removing) television antennas, and visually inspections to determine condition.

Indeed, these examples are generally straight-forward jobs that every homeowner can tackle as part of normal maintenance. And while danger of working on an elevated structure must be recognized, there are also many simple steps that can be taken to reduce risks.

Here is a look at some of the measures a homeowner can follow in order to access the roof with utmost attention to safety.

  • Make sure the roof is not wet. Even a small amount of precipitation can make the surface of roofs very slippery.
  • Keep an eye on the weather to ensure that high winds and the possibility of rain are not likely to interrupt your time on the roof.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing that is less likely to restrict movement.
  • Wear rubber soled shoes that provide optimal traction on slick surfaces.
  • Make sure the ladder is secured to the ground and will not slide. If possible, have someone stand at the base and hold it in place while you are climbing up.
  • Use a ladder long enough to extend at least three feet past the eaves of the roof. This enables safe dismounting from the ladder onto the roof.
  • Do not step on roofing material covered by foliage. Tree leaves are good at holding water and can cause slips even when dry. Sweep away debris before stepping onto such a part of the roof.
  • If working atop your home for a prolonged period, or dealing with a steeper pitched roof, consider using a safety anchor. These are anchored directly into a high point of the roof and a roped harness can prevent accidental falls.

Beyond this list, the most obvious key to rooftop safety is using common sense at all times. Homeowners are naturally driven to preserve the beauty of their home. But even the most necessary repairs are not worth the risk of serious injury.

Be sure you are up for the task when venturing upon your roof. Do not hesitate to ask for help when needed from a professional.