Essential Safety Rules for Individuals Accessing Rooftops
The guidelines for safety on roofs are stringent and important, and not in any way to be taken for granted. Whether you are a roofer, building owner, employee, or some other individual, you must follow several safety rules to ensure your welfare.
Safety: The Rules Always Apply
Many people make the mistake of assuming that safety procedures aren’t necessary if they’re not doing any serious work on the roof. So, they are carefree as they carry out roof inspections or clean debris from their roof. However, once you go a step further to fix a small error you detected, you are now in work mode, and full precautions must be followed. Bear in mind that once you’re using one or more tools on your roof, you are working, and must stay safe. If you’re simply with a measurement tape and a notepad, you’re not working, but you must always be careful.
Before you climb on a roof, always calculate whether or not the place you’re going to be standing on is able to support your weight and that of your tools. It is a sign of expertise to observe the roof and look for any signs of a compromised roof, whether due to rust or water, and then assess the integrity of the roof’s surface before you get on it, to avoid accidents.
Never Stand on Skylights
This should be emphasized again and again. After all, nearly 30% of fatal deaths on roofs happened because people stood on skylights and fell through them. It is important to note that you should never stand on a skylight because it cannot carry your weight, so always identify and barricade all skylights when you’re about to start working. If you don’t, you might mistakenly step on one when backing up. If you’re working on older roofs, you need to be extra careful because when some of these roofs are re-coated, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the skylights and the roof surface as they might be coated together, so always check inside before you begin.
Prevent Slipping and Falling
As common as slips and falls might be across all workplaces, these incidents are most dangerous on roofs because you will be falling from a great height. That’s why you must ensure that your ladders are fixed properly in observance of all safety rules.
Always ensure to maintain three-point contact. If you’re climbing up a ladder, don’t carry tools in your hands, but use a backpack or tool belt. Move slowly when you’re working in wet conditions.
If you’re working on a pitched roof or within a few feet of the perimeter (often 10 feet, depending on your state’s regulations) always tie it off with the appropriate equipment or maintain the extensive Fall Prevention Standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M. Your state or Federal Plan OSHA office can offer information and clarification.
Take note of the prevailing Climate and Temperature
Always take note of the prevailing climate before you get on your roof. If you’re climbing on a roof on a hot day, bear in mind that the roofing materials absorb heat so it will be much hotter. So, prepare for adequate hydration and take rest breaks frequently.
When working on a white roof in the sun, you’ll need to have UV-protective eyewear to ensure proper visibility while you’re up there.
Conclusively, always try to minimize foot traffic on your roof as much as possible to reduce the wear and tear occasioned by people walking on the roof, as well as the safety risks associated with working on the roof. When working with inexperienced roofers, always establish a defined path for accessing the roof to avoid mistakes and accidents.