Rooftop Safety For Dummies - Dakota Safety

Forging ahead on a rooftop repair doesn’t need to be an occasion ending in a hospital visit. Whether you oversee rooftop work with a construction company or your workers conduct regular rooftop maintenance, the same rules apply. The chance of injuries are unfortunately all too common. A report issued from The Center for Construction Research and Training surmised from 2008 to 2010, roof-related falls accounted for one third of fall-related construction deaths.

Heeding to a little practical advice is key to preventing a painful – and possibly fatal – accident. Here are 5 no-nonsense tips on how to make rooftop work a cinch.


1. Deck your roof with appropriate guard rails and skylight covers.

Guard rails are the holy grail of roof safety and, quite possibly, the most crucial thing to preventing a fall. There are two types of guard rails: parapet clamp systems and non-penetrating rooftop systems. Both types of rails include vertical, top, and mid rails to ensure the safety of all workers.

Guard rails, however, may not always the best answer for rooftop safety. Safety harnesses can be equally as instrumental in preventing accidents or injuries. Harnesses are worn on the body and are tied to something sturdy while working. (Keep in mind additional OSHA regulations for these devices. Some states, like Minnesota, require tie-offs to be certified and inspected yearly. Even without such regulations, it’s important to carefully – and consistently – inspect your equipment.) The idea is that should a possible slip happen, harnesses catch the worker and thus, prevent a fall altogether.

2. Only work on the roof wearing quality footwear with rubber-grip soles.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to footwear while doing roof work. Think again before wearing any old pair of sneakers or worn-out boots. Cutting corners will mean you bear the full brunt of consequences. Invest in high-quality steel-toed boots with rubber grips. Shoes of these types are intended to lessen the likelihood of slips and falls. Also, it’s equally important to dress appropriately and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing.

3. Survey your work space and keep it clean and uncluttered.

A messy workspace is prone to cause accidents. Before starting on roof repairs or maintenance work, survey your work space. Think of how you can keep it as uncluttered and organized as possible. Make a game plan to periodically pause and reorganize any tools or materials being used to keep your efficiency and progress on track and prevent the likelihood of a fall or injury.

4. Avoid roofs with any kind of moisture.

Wet roofs are bad news. Doing roof work after a heavy rain or snow is not advisable because slippery roofs are that much easier to fall from. Many roofs don’t completely drain, so you run the risk of coming across standing water. Avoid work on wet roofs unless it’s an emergency repair situation. Also, be sure to clear the roof of leaves or other removable obstacles. Often, leaves hold pockets of hidden moisture.

5. Use a strong, sturdy ladder.

Make sure the ladder you use to get up to the roof is strong and sturdy. No old, squeaky ladders should be used. Always use ladder safety procedures and common sense when going up and down the ladder, and carefully move from step to step.


Being proactive with roof work makes the difference in preventing a roof-related fall. With careful attention to detail and by ensuring safety is a moment-to-moment priority, completing roof work can be both an efficiency and safety success.


Need further guidance in ensuring roof safety? Contact us today for a consultation.


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ConstructionFall protectionGuardrailsNon-penetrating guardrailsOshaOsha regulationsRoofingRooftop safety

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