35 Roofing Safety Tips

From patching up a roof leak to repairing roof shingles, our roofs need some touching up every once in a while. There are however many safety issues to consider if you are planning to fix your own roof. It’s imperative that you take precautions when exercising roof safety to avoid serious injuries or even loss of life.

General Roofing Safety Tips

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Before you head on up to the roof, you need to scan the site you will be working on for potential dangers like power lines or unsafe roof areas.

  • Make sure that the area that you are working on is clean, organized and closed off from pets and children.
  • Do not work on the roof if it is slippery or wet or in extreme temperatures as it can lead to damage of shingles and fail to install properly.

Equipment that can be used for safety precautions include toe boards, brackets, a harness or roof anchor. Wear footwear with soft soles for excellent grip.

Ladder Safety

In addition to the roofing safety precautions, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has important safety guidelines for portable ladders. They are as follows;

  • Read and follow all the warning labels on the ladder and never use a ladder that is damaged.
  • Avoid electrical hazards by looking for power lines overhead before handling a ladder. Never use a metal ladder near power lines.
  • Always maintain 3 points of contact on the ladder when climbing (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand). Keep your weight near the center of the rungs and always face the ladder while climbing.
  • Only use ladders and their accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their intended purposes.
  • Make sure your ladder is free of any slippery materials on the rungs, steps or feet.
  • Do not use a step ladder as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
  • Do not use the top rung of a ladder as a step unless it was designed for that purpose.
  • Only use a ladder on stable and level surfaces unless it has been secured at the top or bottom to prevent displacement.
  • Do not place a ladder on any unstable base to obtain additional height.
  • Do not move or reposition a ladder while a person or equipment is on it.
  • A ladder used to access an elevated surface (your roof) must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (gutters or eaves). Do not stand on any part of the ladder that extends beyond its support.
  • For the safest angle, place the base of the ladder a quarter of the working length of the ladder away from the wall or other vertical surface. For example, if your eaves are 10 feet from the ground, your ladder base should be placed 2.5 feet out from your gutters.
  • When working in a location where your ladder might be displaced by other working activities you must secure the ladder to prevent displacement, or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
  • Make sure that any locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged. 
  • Do not exceed the ladders maximum load rating.
  • Make sure you don’t have to stretch or reach more than your arm’s length while standing on the ladder.
  • Never leave a ladder unattended.

Electrical Safety

Safety around power lines should be paramount. If power lines cannot be avoided, contact your utility company before you start any work.

  • Do not touch hot wires with hands or tools.
  • Avoid using metal ladders and be careful when using metal flashing.

Nail Gun Safety

When used improperly, pneumatic guns can be very dangerous. 

  • Do not point a nail gun at someone.
  • Ensure the safety mechanism is working as it should.
  • Pull the trigger only when firmly pressed against the material you intend to secure.
  • Lubricate, clean and inspect the gun before use.
  • Never place a gun against your body to prevent misfires.
  • Disconnect the gun from air supply after use and never work on the tool while connected to power.

Handling Materials

  • Carrying more than one bundle when climbing ladders or walking across the roof is dangerous.
  • To save time and energy when retrieving materials, store materials close to the roof.
  • Take a break when tired and lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Follow the shingles manufacturer’s instructions.

Not feeling up to the task? Contact Pacific West Roofing for help with your roofing project!


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