Roofing is a challenging profession and this observation is even more relevant when referring to the colder months of the year. Not only are these professionals required to complete challenging projects, but the weather will often not be on their side. This is why safety is paramount in order to ensure that all workers return home safely. What are some professional guidelines to adhere to at all times? Let us examine a few key areas that should represent very real concerns.
Personal Protective Equipment
Roofers should always be supplied with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) during the winter months. Boots with extra ankle support, heavy-duty gloves and tie-off harnesses will help to prevent injuries while working at heights. Depending upon the situation, steel-shank footwear and hard hats could also be deemed necessary.
Dealing with Snow and Ice
It can be argued that snow and ice are the most serious threats to any roofer. Before mounting the roof, check for the presence of either condition. Remove as much of this material as possible and be certain that no workers are below when chipping ice away. If you are forced to walk on an angled roof that is laden with snow and ice, lower your centre of gravity to avoid slipping. Of course, no work should be undertaken if the conditions are too dangerous.
The Two-Man Ladder Rule
Ascending and descending ladders when it is raining or snowing is another real hazard. This is complicated by the fact that workers will often be laden with materials (such as tools or shingle bundles). The two-man rule should always apply. One worker must “foot” the base of the ladder until the other has safely mounted the lip of the roof. The same holds true for those descending.
Exposure to the Elements
Frostbite and hypothermia are particularly dangerous for roofers, as it can be difficult to detect the onset of these conditions. Dress in layers in order to avoid losing excess body heat. Monitor for the first signs of hypothermia (pallid skin, poor coordination and slurred speech). If it is extremely cold and windy, it is wise to take breaks in order to escape the elements for short periods of time.
If you are looking for the most professional roofers in Todmorden, please contact Randles Roofing and Building. Regardless of the time of the year, our experts are here to help.