Ways to be safe while working on a roof

If you are climbing up on to a roof, you should have some type of safety training or knowledge of the risks involved, or you could be asking for trouble. Did you know OSHA requires an employee exposed to a fall more than 6.5 feet must have some type of fall protection and training? If you are one of the following: a roofer, a roof estimator, or a home owner roofing your house, you should protect yourself from a fall. I know it is a pain wearing a harness or setting up guardrails, but you need to be conscience of the risks and how to keep yourself safe on the roof.  The following are 7 safety solutions I would recommend.

1. A Guard Rail System. This photo shows a roof bracket guard rail combo. It is used similarly like a toe board bracket but as you can see it has a riser that accepts standard 2×4’s as the rails. This guard rail system is designed by ACRO Building Systems to meet the OSHA height requirements for guard rails used on steep sloped roofs. Near the top of the roof, you can see how the toe board brackets can be used as slide guards protecting from materials falling off the roof.


ACRO Building System’s Guard Rail System and Toe Board Brackets

2. Toe Board Brackets. These brackets are weaved into the roofing and easily removed without any damage to the roof. Using three brackets for one 12 foot 2×6, they help you navigate on the roof and help keep you, your tools and materials from sliding off the roof possibly striking someone on the ground.


3. A good working Ladder. A ladder long enough to reach the edge of the roof and three feet beyond, will allow safe on and off the roof access. Training on the correct way to set a ladder up is also critical. Always tie off the ladder to keep it stable.


 Rob Gerstel Member Roofer’s Union 33 Boston Mass

4. Harness and Lanyard. Being connected to an approved anchor is called personal fall protection. Personal fall protection is a must when safety nets or guard rails are not present. Proper training is needed to understand how to use these safety tools to save you from injury or death from a fall.

Lack of training is one major reasons roofing falls occur.


Warning Lines Hi-Tech Roofing Burnsville, MN

5. Warning Lines. Using warning lines make a roofer aware he is entering or near dangerous areas like the edge of a roof or skylight holes in a roof. Commercial buildings can often have long unprotected roof edges. Skylight openings are also a major cause of many falls including deaths every year. Working around or near these openings can be a high risk fall area often referred to as  CAZ (Controlled Access Zone).  Having a warning line is required on low sloped roofs where a worker is exposed to a fall. In these areas fall protection must be used like a Harness and Lanyard, Guard Rails, Safety Nets or trained Safety Monitors to warn workers of a risk. The above photo shows the company warning lines with flags protecting any roofers from entering the CAZ.

6. Use a Safety Plan.At the start of every day it is recommended to review a written plan of what and where the risks are and what protection is to be used for the specific roofing job. As employers it is a good idea to have all the employees read and sign the safety plan before accessing the roof. A good safety plan includes using safer roofing products like Titanium UDL25 roofing underlayment. There are many choices you have when it comes to picking underlayments. Why not pick one that is easy to walk on?  Titanium UDL 25 has a patented SURE-FOOT® slip resistant nodular walking surface and an advanced slip resistant resin technology that provides superior steep slope walkability.

7. Hard Hat.Whenever a worker is exposed to the possibility of something falling from the roof and striking him or her, a hard hat is required to be worn. Well, this describes the working environment of a roof. Toe Boards, sometimes call Slide Guards, help keep things from sliding off the roof but it still is a smart way to be safer and wearing a hard hat makes our Top 7 Ways to be safe while working on your roof.

Slator LLC Lynchburg VA. Used as a ladder roof bracket

If you are a roofer, a handyman or a DIY’er be smart and use these tips and others while on a roof. They could save a life or injury.

All data and information appearing on this site is anecdotal in nature, reflecting the contributor’s personal experience and not fact-based research and, therefore, to be used for information purposes only. Read full disclaimer