Roof Safety Tips for Homeowners

January 19, 2024

Your roof is leaking, or maybe you’re just trying to clean out your gutters. You get your trusty old ladder from the garage and set it up quickly to get the chore done fast. Maybe you’re even cautious about it, following all the safety guidelines to ensure you’re safe. But, you step onto your tile roof, not noticing that it's got a thin layer of moss growing on it and you slip.

Falling hurts. Falling from heights can be catastrophic. In the USA, each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries and 300 deaths that are caused by falls from ladders. That simple chore you thought you could quickly get fixed can change your life dramatically. Even the most trained and professional roofers can and do fall. Even when every safety protocol is followed, some unknown or unaccounted for circumstance can alter the situation and cause a fall. Before you go onto your roof, ask yourself if you can truly be safe in the process and if it's worth the risk. Unless you are seasoned and trained on using a ladder and navigating a roof it is usually better to call in a professional. If you do not decide to call a professional in, here are some roof safety tips for homeowners. 

  1. Be Smart. Don’t get on the roof in the rain, which makes an already dangerous situation much more hazardous. Don’t climb on your roof if it is wet, icy, or covered in snow. Debris such as leaves, or moss / lichen can make a roof very slippery as well. Don’t get on your roof with heavy winds either. Don’t try to repair your roof in inclement weather. 
  2. Be Patient. Fixing a roof leak is not as easy as it may seem. It can take many attempts to locate and repair the correct area. Because water travels and almost never drips directly underneath the leaking area, it can be very hard to locate the leaking area of the roof if there is not obvious damage. You may find and repair weak roof areas, and still have a leak appear in the same area. Again, water travels, so you may have to attempt multiple repairs before stopping the water intrusion. 
  3. Be Safe. Roofers use fall protection, you should too. Most roofers have and use a fall protection device that anchors to the roof. The use of a harness can protect you in case you fall. You should also never work alone. If something happens, you want someone to be aware and be able to help in an emergency. Never go on your roof without, at minimum, having someone at the house with you in case something happens. Know how to set up and use a ladder correctly. Never use a ladder on uneven or slippery surfaces. Be wary of power lines that may be above or even connect to the roof.

Overall, the roof is a dangerous place to be. You should always use common sense when navigating a ladder and a roof. Be aware that being at any height puts you in a risky situation that could ultimately lead to serious injury or even death. These chores are best left to the professionals in almost all situations.