Tips for Working on Steep Metal Roofs

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Safety procedures are particularly important on metal roofs.

Safety should be the first concern when working on a roof. Metal roofs are more slippery than shingled roofs, so taking proper safety precautions when on the roof becomes even more important. A mistake leading to a fall can happen in an instant when on a steep metal roof. The time to think about safety and implement all safety precautions is before you set foot on the ladder.



Ensure that any ladders that you use, whether they are from the ground to the roof or on the roof itself, are sound and in good condition. Position ground-based ladders on a solid footing and at a gradual angle so that there is no risk of them tipping backward. Nail a cleat into the fascia on each side of the ladder to keep it from tipping sideways. Extend the ladder far enough so that there are several rungs above the edge of the roof. Ladders that are used on the roof itself can be suspended from the peak using a ladder hook. Ensure that the ladder hook is securely and properly attached to the ladder. Never use a ladder hung from the peak without also using a rope and safety harness.


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Harness and Rope

Secure a safety rope by tying it around the base of a chimney or by nailing or bolting a cleat to the other side of the roof and tying the rope to it. Read all safety instructions pertaining to a safety harness before using one, and put it on properly. Professional safety harnesses include a rope with a shock absorbent section, which is a coil of rope that is held inside a breakable package. If you fall off the roof, this package breaks open and the rope extends, breaking your fall. Many people are injured while on ropes because of the shock of being stopped instantly by the rope during a fall. This system is designed to avoid that. Keep all ropes on a roof organized and out from underfoot. Tripping on ropes is a common cause of falls off of roofs.




Metal roofs are much more slippery than other surfaces. Never work on a metal roof in the rain or wind, when the roof is wet or in wet or dirty shoes. Wear soft-soled shoes or sneakers for better traction. If you are installing the metal roofing, avoid working in windy conditions. A sheet of metal roofing is like a sail with knives on the edges. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the edges of the metal. Never work alone on a metal roof or while installing metal roofing. Stay in good communication with your co-workers so that each knows what the other is doing.




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