Roof Safety Starts on the Ground

Imagine tying two flat ladders together to create a makeshift extension ladder. Or placing a ladder in the bucket of a backhoe for extra reach. Or placing a flat ladder against a flagpole when nothing else was available. These scenarios may seem absurd but they’ve all happened in real life. You may have driven by them, or perhaps you’re the one who’s made those choices.

As an experienced roofing contractor, Arry’s Roofing always encourages our Bay Area customers to use a licensed professional for roof repair and maintenance jobs. Yet we realize that some homeowners, in an effort to pinch pennies, may attempt to handle the work themselves. What many of them don’t know is that seemingly simple tasks—such as cleaning the gutters or removing moist leaves that can lead to shingle rot—can lead to personal injuries and property damage. Working on (or near) the roof requires carefully planning the work and ensuring one’s safety from the ground up. If you absolutely must do any roof maintenance on your own, take note of some helpful hints that could save you time and money by sparing you the agony of an accident.

According to ladder safety guidelines published by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at Stanford University, inspecting a ladder prior to each use will reveal any cracks, splits or corrosion. A fiberglass ladder is preferable for most uses, and is less sensitive to heat and moisture than a wood ladder. While strong and lightweight, aluminum ladders cannot be used near electricity or exposed electrical equipment. It’s also essential to keep all ladders away from mud, materials or debris—or any place they could get accidentally struck.

Once the ladder is properly positioned against your home—extending three feet beyond the roof—ensure your shoes are clean and dry and begin climbing. Refrain from standing or working on the three top rungs, and always keep three points of body contact with the ladder, such as two feet and one hand or two feet and your chest. The Belt Buckle Rule, which involves keeping your belt buckle between the ladder’s side rails to stay centered, is another safe practice to remember.

Ultimately, keeping that ladder in storage and letting the licensed and insured team take care of your roof maintenance is the safest practice. But you’ve still got a job to do: regularly inspecting your roof—even from ground level—will give you top-of-mind awareness of your home’s best protection. Then, if a problem does develop, you’ll be on top of it right away and able to call in the Bay Area’s most trusted roofing professionals to take care of the business we do best.