Metal roofing is extremely popular these days, though being on top of a roof remains an activity select individuals are willing to chance. Because it can become extremely slippery when dirty or wet, metal roofing is even more dangerous than other types of roofing material, such as asphalt tiles. Whether you’re a roofer, home inspector, chimney sweeper, or insurance adjustor, safety is your number one priority before you step onto the metal surface. If you’re a homeowner, we insist you do not climb on any roofs, even if you think you can handle it.
Walking on any type of roof is dangerous, which is why we’ve identified some key tips for walking on a metal roof. In this blog post, we'll discuss some critical guidelines every metal roofer should follow when working on their project, so they can ensure their safety and protect themselves from any potential harm. From understanding the pitch of your roof to properly preparing your feet with proper footwear before heading outdoors - each tip and precaution outlined here will help make sure that your ascent onto a metal rooftop is done safely. Onward and upward!
Check the conditions
It's a beautiful day out and the sun is shining, but before you step onto that roof to bask in the warmth, it's important to take some precautions.
Checking the conditions of the roof is crucial to ensure your safety.
Some potential hazards that need to be identified include weak spots that could give way under your weight, as well as surface debris such as pollen, residue, dust, or moisture on the surface that could cause slips and falls. If there is, do not step onto the roof. The metal surface needs to be clean and completely dry to be safe.
Additionally, having a clean and dry metal surface is necessary for safe navigation. Don't let a careless mistake ruin your day; take the time to properly assess the condition of the roof before you step foot on it.
Wear the Proper Footwear
Walking on a metal roof can be a challenging task, especially if you're not wearing the right footwear. It's crucial to have shoes or boots that provide adequate traction and stability to avoid slipping or falling.
However, it's not just about the type of shoe; the cleanliness of the footwear is also important.
Debris-free shoes ensure that you have the grip you need to walk on the roof with confidence. If the roof is already slick, wet or dirty soles make walking on the roof even more dangerous.
This is why you’ll want to wear soft-soled shoes or boots made of lightweight, pliable rubber. They provide optimal traction while being comfortable to wear for extended periods. Rubber is slip-resistant, even if it comes into contact with water or oil. Your shoes should have such good traction that they almost feel like they’re sticking to the metal. That’s how you know they have a secure grip and will help you safely navigate the sleek metal roofing.
When it comes to metal roofing, safety should always come first. One of the most important factors to consider is weather conditions. Do not walk on a wet metal roof, period. In general, you should avoid walking on any wet rooftops, even asphalt or wood roofing.
Wet areas on a metal roof can be incredibly slippery and increase the risk of slips and falls. This is why it's crucial to reschedule any planned work for a later date when the weather clears up. If that's not possible, comprehensive safety measures should be put in place, such as a safety harness, ropes, anchors, and fall protection systems. These safety measures can help prevent any unfortunate accidents from occurring and ensure that workers stay safe while on the job.
Your best bet, however, is always to reschedule roof work for a day with clear skies.
Advanced Safety Techniques and Equipment for Metal Roofing
If you plan on working up high on a metal roof, it's important to take safety seriously. Advanced safety techniques and equipment can help keep you safe while you work. Specifically, tools such as roof ladders, roof ridge hooks, and roof brackets can make a big difference in preventing falls and injuries.
A roof ladder and harness will provide an extra layer of protection when it comes to accessing higher points on a metal roof.
Ridge hooks will keep you securely connected to the roof while working. And, safety brackets can be used to anchor ladders and other tools. However, it's important to know how to use these tools correctly. Make sure you get the proper training and certification before attempting to use advanced safety equipment.
It's also important to wear safety goggles and gloves while performing work on the metal rooftop. This will protect you from any sharp edges that may be present, as well as keep your hands protected against abrasive surfaces and chemicals. We also recommend wearing elbow and knee pads for extra protection.
By taking these precautions, you can ensure a safe and productive work environment while you work up high.
Legal and Insurance Aspects
Working on roofs can be a risky job, and there are legal requirements in place to ensure safety for workers and anyone else in the vicinity. These requirements include measures such as fall protection systems, guardrails, and safe access to the roof. It's important for professionals working on metal roofs to be aware of these regulations to avoid legal trouble and ensure the safety of all involved.
Additionally, insurance coverage is vital to protect workers and the company from any accidents or damages that may occur. Whether you're a roofing contractor or a building owner, it's essential to have the right insurance coverage to protect against unexpected events. When it comes to legal and insurance aspects, safety should always be the top priority.
With comprehensive knowledge of the regulations and the right insurance policies, it's possible to safely and successfully complete any roofing project.
Working on metal roofs can be intimidating for those new to it, but with some helpful pointers and the right safety equipment, you can easily make repairs or installations. By following our guide, you should give yourself a better chance at avoiding potential hazards while working on a metal roof.
Wear rubber-soled shoes, always tie off a safety rope and wear a harness before starting work, inspect the condition of your roof yearly, and avoid walking on wet or rusted areas of your roof. Finally, get help if you will be taking on large-scale work or repairs. We hope we were able to offer some useful advice that will help you with any current or future metal roofing projects in your house. It can be dangerous work, but if you take the necessary precautions, you can accomplish the job smoothly and safely.
For more metal roofing safety tips, read our blog post The 10 Commandments of Metal Roofing Safety.