During the lifetime of a roof, maintenance or even roof repairs will eventually have to be conducted which means manually climbing onto the roof. This task would be relatively easy for a trade professional; for the average person, it can be very challenging, especially if there is a steep slope that could potentially lead to a fall.
Conducting simple maintenance does not always have to be done by a professional roofing contractor. For those who cannot afford the services of a professional, it is possible to attempt do-it-yourself work to keep a roof in good condition. Before attempting it is important to learn some safety guidelines about how to prevent falls.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when tackling roof maintenance.
- Wear Rubber Shoes – One of the first requirements in preventing slipping is wearing rubber shoes. Different types of roofing materials have varying amounts of traction. For example, asphalt has a gritty surface and provides a fair amount of traction; on the other hand, slate has a very smooth surface and can be very slippery to walk on. Wearing rubber-soled shoes will ensure the best traction on every type of surface.
- Install a Safety Line – Falling is certainly a possibility when working at great heights. Wrong footing can lead to a fall and weak trusses can cave in from the weight of the worker. To avoid this from happening, the first thing that should be done is to secure a safety line. This line will give peace of mind while working on tall roofs, knowing that it can stop a fall in case a fall should happen.
- Use Planks – Rafters are designed to support the weight of the roof; however, leaks and decay can cause it to weaken. Old roofs can be very dangerous to go across as there is no way to know which parts are weak and could cave in under the pressure of crossing them, resulting in a fall. As a safety precaution, a plank should be used for this purpose. It should be placed along as many rafters as possible, so the weight is evenly distributed. This should prevent cave-ins in case the rafters are already weakened.
- Use Ladders With Rubber Tips – Ladders are important tools for scaling low roofs. It is important to use ones that are equipped with rubberized tips so they do not accidentally slide off when leaning at an angle, especially if they are positioned on a smooth surface such as tile. Ladders should always be used with someone holding and securing the base.
- Use a Spotter – Working on a roof is not a job for just one person. While the actual work can be done by a single person, a spotter should be available at all times to monitor the worker. In case a fall occurs, the spotter can provide immediate assistance and call for help.
- Do Not Medicate – Some medications can alter balance and slow down muscle response, both of which are vital when climbing. When taking medication, it is important to check with a health professional to see if the drug is taken will cause this kind of effect before attempting to climb onto a roof.
- Maintain Safe Footing – Staying safe is a matter of being aware of the condition of the roof with each step taken. One side may be dry and safe to cross, while slippery moss may be growing just a few steps ahead. A close visual inspection should be performed while walking. Basically, maintenance and inspection should be done while the shingles are dry to avoid slipping.
Roof maintenance plays a crucial part in extending the life of a roof and may require an actual ascent in order to perform any clean-up tasks and/or repairs. It is very important to remember that there is a high risk of falling involved when performing these tasks. Be sure to implement the safety tips discussed above when climbing onto the roof in order to prevent the risk of a fall!