What goes up must come down, but no one wants to drop tools on their friends or break a leg trying to save money patching a hole in the roof. It is an unfortunate fact that many injuries, including fatal and disabling falls, are mostly preventable. Here are safety tips for DIY roof repairs to reduce the odds that you are injured while working on your roof.
Don’t try to work on the roof when there are people walking where your tools may fall. This ensures that no one mistakenly moves a ladder as an impediment, stranding someone on the roof, or gets hit by a falling hammer. This doesn’t eliminate the need for everyone working on the project to wear a hard hat since they could get hit by flying debris or hit their heads climbing around the rafters.
A variation of this theme is clearing the work area itself before you start work. You don’t want anyone to slip on wet leaves on the roof or stepping on a nail gun left out the day before.
Don’t work when there is a risk of a lightning strike. Avoid working in the rain since your odds of slipping and falling are higher. When it is hot outside, hydration is essential, but getting up to work in the cooler morning is safer. Remember that when it is wet outside, the ladder rungs may be slippery, too. Be careful to secure equipment and people when it gets windy outside. Look for electrical lines nearby before you start work.
Arrange for the installation of a scaffold to work on if you need to work on the side of the roof instead of trying to lean off an edge. Everyone working on the project should wear double retractable lanyards. Lanyards catch someone before they fall to the ground while the equipment absorbs the shock so that protecting them from the hard impact with the ground doesn’t break a bone or strain their back in the process. Don’t forget to attach the safety harness to something sturdy.
Use the right roof safety equipment for the tasks you’re performing. Anyone using a hammer needs to wear eye protection. Anyone working with a nail gun needs eye protection, protective shoes and gloves, and a hard hat.
Consider making a list of supplies in advance so that you have all the supplies prepared in advance. If you know everything you need and get it together before you transport it up to the top, you won’t have to make extra, risky trips up and down the ladder to retrieve an item.
Keep ladders level; securing them with stakes at the bottom and roof anchors at the top may be necessary. Don’t try to carry heavy items up a ladder – use pulleys and lifts instead. Use ladders that are high enough to reach the areas you want to reach instead of trying to stack ladders. If you’re working on a steep roof, consider putting toe-holds on the roof to act as a ladder as you climb and work. However, none of this eliminates the need to wear a safety harness in case you fall off a ladder or the roof itself.
If you follow the tips in this article, you should be able to do a great roof job by yourself.