Doing inspections of your roofing system on a regular basis and after extreme weather events can provide early warning of potential issues, but this benefit can be wiped away quickly by a fall due to unsafe procedures while walking the roof. To avoid a potentially catastrophic accident, there are 5 measures you can follow to maximize your safety while walking your roof.
1) Wear safety gear on steep roofs – One of the biggest risks of steep inclines is that a small slip, if not arrested quickly, can turn into a fall off the roof. This risk can be mitigated by wearing a safety harness system that can keep you on the roof in the event of a slip. If you don’t have this type of gear, opt for visual inspections from a ladder and hire professionals when it’s time to walk the roof.
2) Before going up, take a look at the roof for anything that might make it slippery to walk on – Recent rain, dew, snow or ice can make a roof dangerous to walk on, even it has a lower slope. If you have any doubts about traction on your roof, wait for it to dry out before walking on it.
3) Wear shoes or boots that provide traction – Boots or shoes with rubber tracked soles will provide better traction than footwear with flat bottoms. If you’ll be walking on a surface that has a moderate or steeper slope, wear rubber soles even if the roof is dry.
4) Sweep off leaves and other debris as you walk – The roof surface may look dry, but moisture can be trapped on the underside of leaves and debris, making them slippery to walk on. As you walk across your roof, take a broom to clear your path to maximize traction.
5) Be wary of walking on moss and algae – Both of these growths trap moisture, which can diminish traction on the roof. If at all possible, walk the areas of the roof that don’t have moss or algae. If the roof is completely covered, test the grip of your shoes on the perimeter before walking across these areas. If purchase on the surface is marginal, call a professional to clear the roof before you walk on it again.
Walking on your roof may be far more dangerous than you think, with consequences that can be quite serious. Before walking your roof, take all necessary safety precautions. If you’re still unsure about your safety, wait until conditions improve or call a professional roofing company to handle the work, as a serious fall can have greater implications than any problem with the roof.