Perhaps the most dangerous, even life threatening, mistake made by homeowners is to not adequately assess the risks attached to working on a roof.
Any work on a roof will require working at a height. And working at a height is dangerous (it accounts for a high number of fatalities and major injuries every year). This is especially so when a roof is fragile because it is need of repair, or because the material it is made from cannot safely support the weight of a person.
Before attempting any roof repair or maintenance work, we urge you to first assess the risks involved and consider whether you have the adequate equipment and skill to tackle the job at hand. If in any doubt, then it’s wise to call in the professionals!
The HSE provides some very helpful advice on working at height for employers, which is just as relevant to homeowners working on their own roofs.
The Dos and Don’ts of Working At Height
- Take into account weather conditions that might compromise your safety
- Work from the ground as much as possible
- Ensure you can get safely to and from where you need to work at height
- Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, and that it is well maintained and checked regularly
- Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
- Provide protection from falling objects to those passing underneath
- Consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures
- Work on roofs in icy, rainy or windy conditions
- Overload ladders – consider not only the weight of the person using the ladder, but also the weight of the equipment or material you’re carrying up and down. Check the pictogram or label on the ladder for more information
- Overreach on ladders or stepladders
- Rest a ladder against a weak upper surface e.g. glazing or plastic gutters.
- Use ladders or stepladders for strenuous or heavy tasks. Use them only for light work of a short duration (max. 30 minutes at a time)
- Let anyone work at height, including yourself, who does not have the skills, knowledge or experience to do the job
If you are in any doubt at all then please call in professional roofers, like ourselves, who have both the specialist equipment and skills needed to safely carry out roofing work. It might be slightly more expensive in the short-term but could save you from a nasty injury or more expensive roofing repairs.
Keay Roofing are local roofing contractors who work across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire on both commercial and domestic roofing projects. We can be contacted on 01753 358267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.