Most folks shy away from doing roof repair jobs on their own as the job can be hazardous and tricky. Roofing shingles can be slippery, some may have come loose, and steep slopes compound those hazards and greatly increase your chances of falling. If you’re brave enough to tackle your roof repairs on your own though, you can greatly minimize the potential hazards by following some basic safety principles.
1. Call for backup
Working with a buddy can not only get the job done faster, it also provides a safety backup in the case of an accident. If an accident does occur, it’s important to have someone there for immediate help.
2. Do some recon
Before you set foot on the roof, check out the overall condition. Look for potential hazards like loose shingles, holes in the sheathing, or other trouble spots.
3. Wear a safety harness
This is one of the simplest ways to protect yourself while doing roof repairs, yet most folks don’t want to go to the extra trouble. Rigging up a simple safety harness may take a little extra time and effort, but you’ll be thankful you did if you do have an accident. Just make sure that it’s hooked up to something sturdy that won’t give under your weight.
4. Wear the right gear
As with any major repair or construction job, it’s important to wear appropriate clothing and safety gear. That starts with sturdy shoes or boots with good traction. The right footwear will give you a solid footing and prevent slips. Wear clothing that won’t impede movement and make sure to wear safety glasses while you work.
5. Keep an eye on the weather
If it looks like a storm is coming, it’s better to put the work off until another day. Obviously, rain or snow can create extremely hazardous conditions on an already dangerous roof, but even a strong gust of wind can knock you off your feet or make you lose your balance.
Even if the storm has passed, recent rain or snowfall can make a roof hazardously slick. Wait until the roof has had a chance to dry completely.
6. Work neatly
Even little tools or bits of debris from your work can be a tripping hazard. Make sure to keep your workspace free of debris. Pick up nails, old shingles and tools that aren’t being used. Along the same lines, leaves on a roof can easily cause you to slip – especially when they’re wet – so be extra cautious and brush leaves away before beginning work.
7. Know your limits
You may be Mr. Fix-it around the house, but if you are uncomfortable with heights or have problems balancing on ladders or uneven surfaces, roof repair is a job best left to a professional. If you think it might be unsafe for you to tackle the job, it probably is. Know your limits and be safe rather than sorry.