Working on a roof can appear quite a daunting task, with the risk of serious falls increased when working at height. If you use roof ladders as part of your daily work, you’ll probably already have a pretty good idea of the correct precautions and procedures. However, accidents do still happen, and sadly, sometimes with serious consequences – and unfortunately, nothing breeds overconfidence quite like experience! So, here’s a quick refresher on some key tips to remember!
Use the correct ladder
Although an extension ladder or combination ladder can be used to get you up and down from the room, we’d always advise that you use a roof ladder to ensure optimum safety. Roof ladders are designed with ridge hook at their apex which can be used to fasten them to the roof. The best practice is to have the ladder leaned at a 75-degree angle to the ground and to ensure it is resting on a firm and flat surface. This makes getting up and down from the roof far safer, heavily reducing the chances of the ladder slipping underneath your feet and mitigating the risk of a fall.
Harnesses and running lines
Harnesses and running lines are essential restraint systems to prevent falls when completing roof work. Running lines allow you to maintain balance effectively when working on a sloped or slippery surface, allowing you to get from one area to another with ease. Harnesses act as further support, keeping you attached to something that can support your weight, such as a chimney, and therefore preventing the risk of serious injury. If you ever slipped and fell, the harness would only let you go so far, stopping you from taking a serious fall. Harnesses and running lines are often available at relatively low prices and are incredibly useful for roof work, and therefore, they are heavily recommended as a safety measure.
Wear the appropriate gear
Aside from wearing a harness, donning the correct clothing and protective equipment is also a key safety measure one should consider. The correct footwear, pants and headgear can all play a huge role in increasing your safety when doing roof work.
Anti-slip footwear with steel toecaps and a thick sole is ideal when working on a roof as it will reduce the risk of both falls and also penetration from sharp objects such as loose screws and nails. A thick pair of work trousers is also advised because rooftops can often have sharp areas that are difficult to detect and wearing these types of specialised trousers can alleviate this risk massively. Helmets are another must-have when working on a roof, as they offer another protective layer to one of the most vital and vulnerable parts of the body.
You’ll also need to consider seasonal changes when selecting the correct gear from the job. In the summer months, sunscreen is vital when working on a roof, as these surfaces can often be reflective, and you’ll spend the majority of the day exposed to sunlight. In the winter, thick and warm clothing is advised, but not to the extent where it prevents your ability to move comfortably. Gloves and shoes with a firm grip are crucial for roof work during the colder months or for days when rainfall is likely.
The previous four safety tips should have you covered in terms of general safety measures to follow, however, if you run a business or work for a company that often conducts roof work, professional training courses might be of further benefit to you. We offer a Working at Height training course as part of our range of safety training courses over at our sister site, Browns Safety Services, and this can help to bolster your knowledge on the relevant health safety laws for work in this environment.
Whilst it is understandable that people may find working on a roof to be daunting, with the correct safety measures in place, it doesn’t have to be. By abiding by these tips, we have offered here, and enrolling yourself on a professional safety course, you should feel a lot safer next time you have to conduct any type of roof work.
When it comes to finding equipment for professional roofers, though, here at Browns we pride ourselves on maintaining a huge range of roofing ladders and access equipment, both for roofers and a variety of other tradesmen and professionals, including window cleaners. Feel free to browse our full range here, or give us a call on 01282 615 517, and we’ll see what we can do to help!