Many home and business owners across Texas and around the nation have sustained roof damage in the recent rash of spring storms, and most areas can expect more severe storms before autumn rolls around again. Whether you make a living as a roofer or are just checking up on your home, make sure that you think twice about your own safety before you climb up a ladder and take a look at the roof.
Every year, the weeks and months after severe weather are followed by reports of falls, injuries, and deaths related to roof repairs and inspections, both professional and amateur. If you’re planning to get up on the roof this summer, here are six tips that will help you protect yourself—and your property—while you’re removing debris, checking out cracked shingles, performing routine maintenance, and working on roof repairs:
- Take preventing falls seriously. Even seasoned professionals can get seriously hurt if something goes wrong on a roof. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the number-one cause of death in the construction industry, and about 34% of the fall deaths that occurred between 2003 and 2013 were falls from roofs. Although the extra steps may feel like they’re slowing you down when there’s work to be done, remember that saving some time isn’t worth risking your life. Any time you climb, you should be doing what you can to prevent accidental falls.
- Watch out for power lines and electrical hazards. Electrical accidents are a risk when you’re working near power lines or using power tools on a roof. Remember that electricity can jump from power lines to metal ladders even a few feet away, and metal roofing materials should never come into contact with electrical wires or boxes.
- Use the right ladder. Ladders should always meet codes and be long enough to reach. Don’t be tempted to “make do” with makeshift ladders or ladders that just aren’t right for the job. You shouldn’t have to overextend the ladder or stretch from the top to reach the area you want to work on. Even when using the right ladder, you should remember to secure the ladder, climb safely, and leave enough room to move safely from ladder to roof.
- Don’t work on a slippery roof. You should never get up on a roof that is wet or icy, and you should use extreme care when climbing onto roofs that may have loose granules, fallen leaves, or other slip hazards. If a roof is very steep or the footing is potentially unsure, be sure to use harnesses, nets, guards, and other appropriate safety equipment.
- Don’t make damage worse. Without appropriate caution, walking on a damaged roof can create even more damage than the storm did. Cracked shingles, delicate tiles, and even underlying rot can all pose a risk when walking on a storm-damaged roof, and the insurance company is unlikely to pay for the additional repairs needed because you weren’t taking appropriate care or working with professionals.
- Don’t do it alone. Roofing is a dangerous job, so don’t climb up on the roof alone. You should always let someone know that you’ll be on the roof and have someone nearby who can help, just in case there’s an accident.
Ultimately, you should never risk your safety to check up on your roof or make repairs. If you’re unsure, just don’t climb. Instead, call in a professional who has the experience, the knowledge, and the right equipment to do the job safely—just be sure that the professional you choose carries the appropriate liability insurance and licensing for your state.
Are you concerned about getting payment for storm damages to a home, business, or other property? Do you have questions about your rights when negotiating an insurance claim? For more information and help with denied, delayed, or underpaid storm insurance claims, contact the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730.