Did you know that roofers are the #4 deadliest job in the United States? That’s what a 2013 study revealed about some of the most dangerous jobs.
Roofing isn’t the only construction-related item on the list. It’s accompanied by construction laborers and general maintenance workers, though roofing alone is already far more dangerous than both of those combined.
In fact, the only jobs that were more deadly were logging, fishing, and aircraft pilots and engineers. When you think about roofing being among those ranks, you really need to start taking adequate safety measures to ensure workplace safety.
How roofers can stay safe while on a roof
The first rule of safety is to take safety seriously. Really, guys, if you’re on a roof you’re already in a dangerous place. Even if you’ve racked up thousands of hours up there, you’ve still gotta watch your back at all times.
Be aware of your surroundings
Know where the problematic areas on the roof are, where power lines cross, if there are any children or pets in the home, wind conditions, etc. Like a well-trained ninja, you should always know what’s above, below, left right, or around where you’re working.
In addition to your tools and talent, it’s important to remember to bring safety gear to minimize risk of accidents. Some of the stuff you should be using when the situation requires it:
- Safety harness
- Eye protection
- Roof anchors
- Roof brackets
Ways to prevent falls
Professional Roofing magazine cites a study showing that 6 roofers every month on average die from falls in the United States. That’s 6 more than necessary, as it’s almost always a preventable problem.
To reduce your risk of falling, or the risk of your crews or subs, please keep in mind the following:
- Never work on a wet roof as they are prone to slippage
- Keep your work area clean and tidy. No dirt or debris where it doesn’t need to be, and no tools lying around.
- Use a safety harness, net, and/or guardrails when working on roofs with steep pitches.
- Don’t cut corners when setting up or going up and down on your ladder.
- I know it’s not too stylish but: use a helmet in case of a fall to help prevent more serious injury. It might just save your life.
Do as much as you can from the ground
With roofing software, roofers can do more from the ground than ever before. And, not only that, but it can also help streamline your workflow while on the roof to reduce the amount of time you’re needing to be up there.
By maximizing your workflow, providing you the information you need at a moment’s notice, and by streamlining your input for things like creating estimates or proposals on the fly out in the field, roofing software can become a primary safety mechanism for helping your team stay safe.
If you haven’t invested in roofing software, you’re missing out on something that will bring greater safety, more sales, better margins, and peace of mind.
Stay safe out there, guys.
If you’re falling with an iPad and it’s either you or the iPad: chuck the iPad first.
But try to make it land on the grass or in a shrubbery.
For more information on roofing safety, check out GAF’s guide. It has some good tips for beginners as well as good reminders for veterans that you’re never as safe on a roof as you are on the ground.